Christmas Eve 2014 5 PM by Ken Dale

Over the past four Sundays in Advent we have been following the theme Here Is Your God. Each week we celebrated the presence of God in a different place: God in the People, God in the World, God in the Lowly and this past Sunday, God in the House. Tonight we celebrate God in the Light. Each week at the opening of worship we heard the responses from our congregation as to where in the people, world, lowly, and house we have seen God. Tonight I share with you some of the responses of where we as a church family have seen God in the light.

God is seen in the light when: ?music glorifies God in those best moments,? ?the new light of dawn,? ?in the sunset? ?when there?s a wedding,? ?in a rainbow,? ?the warm smiles of others,? ?mist dancing on early morning waters,? ?the sunlight glimmers and sparkles through the stained glass windows,? and of course ?participating in Christmas Eve candlelight service.?

Light is something we so easily take for granted. That is of course until there is a power outage and we don?t have it. It?s so difficult when you cannot see. When we explored our fears during the children?s message last Sunday Mischa shared that dark was one of the things he was afraid of. No doubt he is not alone. One of the scary things about dark is that you cannot see ? you cannot see what is there and you cannot see what isn?t there that you think might be there.

I remember as a child I used to listen to a recording of Peter and the Wolf a lot. So in the dark of night in my bedroom I was always afraid that there was a wolf under my bed ? or in the closet ? or behind the bedroom wall which was a concern because in the closet there was a little door that allowed storage behind that wall. Of course, there was no wolf under the bed, in the closet, or behind the wall ? but in the darkness I could not see that. Unless I turned on the light.

Molly Baskett shared another bedtime story in the UCC daily devotional the other day. Once upon a time, there was a little girl who had trouble sleeping. Night after night, she’d wake her parents up and crawl in bed with them. They loved the feeling of their young daughter snuggled up with them, but nobody was getting a good night’s sleep. Finally, they put her to bed one evening with an admonishment to stay there for the whole night. She started to cry. Panicked, they said, “Sweetheart, you’re never really alone! Don’t you know that God is here with you, keeping you company?” “Yes,” she said through her sobs, “I know that God is here. But I just want someone with a little more skin on.”

That is what we celebrate tonight ? Immanuel ? God with us ? or, if you will, God with skin on. We celebrate that incredible moment when Jesus was born and in such an unexpected way. In a lowly manger with the news first being announced to shepherds in the fields. Not in high a mighty powerful places ? but almost sneaking in the back way. This is the moment when and the way in whcih the Light came into the world. Jesus is the light that reveals God and that light is love. In that light we come to know God as a love deep enough to come to us and share the very life we live. It is a love that creates and recreates, that offers forgiveness, healing, new beginnings, and a relationship that enables us to live life to the very fullest both with God and with each other.

The flame of that love is like any other flame. If you keep it stoked it stays alive and vibrant. But let it lay fallow and it will not last. Tonight we will each hold a symbol of that flame ? sharing God?s light from one to another. And in that sharing of light with another, it burns brighter. So it is with the light of Christ ? with the love of God. In the flame of the candle it is symbol ? but in the thoughts of our hearts and minds and in the actions of our lives it is reality. The light we share overcomes the darkness ? it is the light of hope, it is the light of peace, it is the light of joy, it is the light of love ? love of God come to us in the life of Jesus our Christ. The light of God?s love does shine brightest when we share it with others.