Luke 2: 16-20
How Should We Respond To Christmas?
If you've ever seen A Charlie Brown Christmas  you remember that iconic scene where Charlie Brown is depressed, mocked, and at his wits end. In frustration he cries out, "Isn't there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?"
His best friend Linus replies matter-of-factly, "Sure, Charlie Brown, I can tell you what Christmas is all about"
He then walks to center stage, the lights dim, and Linus recites Luke 2:8-14
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flocks by night, and lo the angel of the Lord came upon them and the glory of the Lord shone round about them, and they were sore afraid, and the angel said unto them, "Fear not, for behold, I bring you tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a savior, tis Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you. You shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in a manger."
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly hosts, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men."
He then walks back to Charlie Brown and says, "That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown."
I want to ask one simple question tonight: How should we respond to this?
Consider the angel's claim...
  • Good News!
  • Great joy!
  • All people!
  • A Savior!
  • Christ (Messiah)
  • The Lord (Yahweh)
How do you respond to claims that huge?!?
I think the answer is found in the way the shepherds responded. Listen to what the Bible says in Luke 2:15, the verse immediately after what Linus quoted...
  • When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us."
  • Shepherds aren't just taking the angels word for it, they're going to see for themselves!
  • Don't believe the stories are true?
    • We love you and welcome you here
    • But we do challenge you to take the time to examine the evidence for yourselves
    • Start with the Gospel of Mark and consider the claims of Jesus
  • How God helped me to "go and see" 
    • Grew up in Christian home, knew these stories, believed them for the most part but I didn't like the way the Bible told me to live
    • And then I started to see that God's commands are actually for my good!
  • Luke 2:20 -- they really believed
  • Erika Komisar—lie to your children
    • If we claim To believe but don’t truly believe we’re no better
Genuine belief is more than mere intellectual belief
  • In the summer of 1859, Charles Blondin walked on a tightrope 160 feet above Niagara Falls several times back and forth between Canada and the United States as huge crowds on both sides looked on with shock and awe. 
  • Once he crossed in a sack, once on stilts, another time on a bicycle,  and once he even carried a stove and cooked an omelet!
  • On July 15, Blondin walked backward across the tightrope to Canada and returned pushing a wheelbarrow.
  • The story is told that after pushing the wheelbarrow across while blindfolded that Blondin asked for some audience participation.  The crowds had watched and "Ooooohed" and "Aaaaahed!"  He had proven that he could do it; of that, there was no doubt.  But now he was asking for a volunteer to get into the wheelbarrow and take a ride across the Falls with him!
  • It is said that he asked his audience, "Do you believe I can carry a person across in this wheelbarrow?"  Of course the crowd shouted that yes, they believed!
  • It was then that Blondin posed the question - "Who will get in the wheelbarrow?' CRICKETS.
  • Luke 2:16-18   
Advent - Christmas Eve - Christ Candle
The three purple candles and one pink candle on our Advent Wreath have been lighted over the past four Sundays of Advent. The candles represent hope, peace, joy, and love.
Advent is the period of preparation that looks back to the coming of Christ at Christmas.
Tonight, however, Advent is over. Now is Christmas - the celebration, not of waiting, but of having; having Christ living among us. In that day, He came as a child and lived with us. In this day, He lives in us by His Holy Spirit. Waiting is over, knowing is here.
On our Advent Wreath, the white candle in the center, symbolizes Christ. John 1 says, “In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness.” The white candle reminds us of the purity and holiness of Christ; and the light reminds us of the life of Christ.
John also says this about Jesus, Emmanuel, God with us, “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
Would you pray with me?
Most Loving Father, thank you for this night and for all it represents. Thank you for the hope you bestow, the peace you bring, the love you pour out, and the joy you give. We praise you most of all for Jesus, your Word made flesh. May he light our way as we live for You and in You. Amen