First Lesson: Isaiah 52:7-10:

7How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!” 8Listen! Your watchmen lift up their voices; together they shout for joy. When the Lord returns to Zion, they will see it with their own eyes. 9Burst into songs of joy together, you ruins of Jerusalem, for the Lord has comforted his people, he has redeemed Jerusalem. 10The Lord will lay bare his holy arm in the sight of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth will see the salvation of our God.

 

Psalm 98 on Page 103 in Christian Worship

Sing to the Lord a new song,

   for he has done marvelous things.

The Lord has made his salvation known

   and revealed his righteousness to the nations.

He has remembered his love and his faithfulness to the house of Israel;

   all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth,

   burst into jubilant song with music;

make music to the Lord with the harp,

   with the harp and the sound of singing.

Shout for joy before the Lord, the King.

   He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples with equity.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son

   and to the Holy Spirit,

as it was in the beginning,

   is now, and will be forever.  Amen.

 

Second Lesson: Hebrews 1:1-9:

1In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. 3The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.4So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs.

5For to which of the angels did God ever say, “You are my Son; today I have become your Father”?

Or again, “I will be his Father, and he will be my Son”?

6And again, when God brings his firstborn into the world, he says, “Let all God’s angels worship him.”

7In speaking of the angels he says, “He makes his angels spirits, and his servants flames of fire.”

8But about the Son he says, “Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever; a scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom. 9You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy.”

 

Gospel Lesson: John 1:1-14:

1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was with God in the beginning. 3Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

6There was a man sent from God whose name was John. 7He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. 8He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.

9The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—13children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

14The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

 

Sermon Text: Isaiah 29:13-14:

13The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught. 14Therefore once more I will astound these people with wonder upon wonder; the wisdom of the wise will perish, the intelligence of the intelligent will vanish.”

 

Sermon Outline:

Introduction: It was a special that no one had confidence in. The TV executive who ordered it didn’t like Christmas specials. The producer thought that the writer’s idea would never fly. The director thought he had failed when he saw the finished product. That didn’t matter. When it premiered on December 9, 1965, A Charlie Brown Christmas became a massive hit and an instant classic that has been aired every year since it was made. One of the reasons that it is so great is that it perfectly shows the contrast between the way the world commonly celebrates Christmas with the true meaning of the festival. Today, we look at how the world celebrates Christmas and see…

 

The World’s Celebration of Christmas is…

I. A tragedy

II. An opportunity

 

I. A Tragedy

  • The thing the show criticized most was the commercialization of it
  • Shopping season goes from early November to middle January
  • This leads to a concentration on the things that we buy for gifts
  • The happiness of households are all tied up in what the kids think
  • It makes the central figure of the holiday Santa Claus & his gifts
  • You see his image everywhere in the month of December
  • There is also the great desire for people to decorate homes elaborately
  • This extends, of course, to the Christmas tree that must be perfect
  • People also spend a lot of time dedicated to the music of the season
  • We shake our heads at this as Linus did when explaining the meaning

 

II. An opportunity

  • The music points to Jesus and what he did for us in so many lyrics
  • The Christmas tree is a symbol of the eternal life that Jesus brings
  • The decorations can show the joy and beauty that Jesus brings to us
  • Santa Claus is based on a real person, St. Nicholas of Turkey
  • We can point out that he was a dedicated servant of Jesus in his life
  • The gifts that are given is a reminder that Jesus is the greatest gift
  • Even the money we spend can show the great price that Jesus paid
  • This gives us the opportunity to declare Jesus as Linus did then
  • Remember, people are open to come and hear if they are invited.

 

About Joel Lilo

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