Let Your goodness, Lord, appear to us, that we,
made in your image, conform ourselves to it.
In our own strength
we cannot imitate Your majesty, power, and wonder,
nor is it fitting for us to try.
But Your mercy reaches from the heavens
through the clouds to the earth below.
You have come to us as a small child,
but you have brought us the greatest of all gifts,
the gift of eternal love.
Caress us with Your tiny hands,
embrace us with Your tiny arms
and pierce our hearts with Your soft, sweet cries.
By St. Bernard of Clairvaux, Cistercian monk and church reformer.
My message at Eastbrook’s Christmas Eve services was entitled “The Gift We Really Need.” You can watch the video below or through the Eastbrook app, listen to it via our audio podcast, or read the entire text below the video. Join us for our next sermon series beginning in January, “Unschackled,” from the letter of the Apostle Paul to the Philippians.
As I mentioned yesterday, I’m catching up on some posts on my blog and wanted to share my Christmas Eve message, “Signs of the King,” with you all. Although the message is not available yet in audio or video format, I am including the entire text of the message below. I rarely write out my messages, but for shorter ones that require such precision, brevity, and clarity I often do so. Enjoy!
Christmas Eve 2016 – “Signs of the King”
This past year one of my sons received his driver’s license. It took me back to those days many of us may remember – and some of us anticipate – when we are learning the rules of the road. Some things change, but a lot of things don’t change: it’s still scary to learn to drive (even if you’re excited about it) – it’s still stressful to take your driver’s test – and you still have to know what the signs mean.
When I first received my driver’s license, I was driving with my friend, Nathan, who told me that every STOP sign with a white border was optional. So…at the next STOP sign with a white border, I decided to just cruise right through it…and he freaked out. It was a dumb thing to do because, in case you didn’t know it, every STOP sign has a white border around it…and none of them are optional…they all mean the same thing: STOP.
Signs tell us something, and we need to pay attention. But there are different kinds of signs.Read More »
This is why we celebrate (from Luke 2:1-20):
2:1 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2 (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to their own town to register.
4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.