Christmas Eve: Message to the World

Christmas Eve: Message to the World

After reading his daughter’s book and pondering the experiences that she had described in it, author Carl Rogers was quoted as saying that the book confirmed for him a truth he had already known, that what is most personal, is most universal too. What is most personal, is most universal too.

This is good news to all of us, and news that we should be happy to spread to all people, of all nations.  The personal is just that; personal, unique and special to each of us, with the details of our stories that can vary greatly.  Yet life and life’s personal experiences are more universal than we know, until when we share them with others, and hear back that the commonalities are great and Christmas is the perfect time to be reminded of this truth.

The experiences of life that God walks through with us, are experiences to be shared. They are personal but they are universal too, as the Good News of the coming of the eternal one to us is personal but universal.  Each of us is individually welcomed into a separate and unique relationship with God, through Christ, and yet for all of us, the many universal components abound.  Yet none of us are less loved or wanted in the story of God and humankind.  We are all invited to be part of the story of the Kingdom of God, here on earth, and later in the after-life.   You see, my brothers and sisters, the personal is universal just as our relationship with God is personal, but yet has many universal components that all can understand when we converse about our experiences with God and realize that we are all loved by God.

The last reading to our cantata tonight is entitled ‘The Messengers to the World.’  Its words remind us that “there is a time for everything and a season for every purpose under heaven”.  It also reminds us of our Lord’s words, when in his adulthood, Jesus proclaimed, “Unless you saw miraculous things and wonders, you would not believe.  Therefore I have astounded my people with wonders upon wonders”. 

Brothers and sisters, it is up to each of us and each generation to come, to tell the faith stories, like those surrounding the birth of Jesus the Christ on Christmas night.  And then, when we add our own stories about our experiences of Christmas time, and share these and other spiritual moments of life which we have had; however insignificant they may seem; we open the door to sharing the love stories of God.  We let other people know that they are not alone, in the midst of good times or bad times.  They, like we, are valued and cherished.  We are universally one, through the love of God, who takes us as we are and loves us, even if we have rough edges or need to grow in ways we have yet to acknowledge.

In 1896, Henry Ernest Nichol wrote a hymn which went on to be placed in over 250 separate denominational hymnals and songbooks, ranking up there with Amazing Grace and Joy to the World, I imagine.  He had written over 130 hymns but only two were published widely.  Originally written for Sunday School children to learn from, this hymn was adopted and loved by adults and children alike, because its message hits our individual hearts deeply, while being so very universal to all the world as well.

It has a march-like characteristic and a very lively melody, such that it may not seem too much like the traditional songs of quiet wonderment as we have in other songs on Christmas Eve night.  But it is a perfect hymn to remind us of our Message to the World about God’s coming to earth. 

Its first verse goes like this:

We’ve a story to tell to the nations,
That shall turn their hearts to the right,
A story of truth and mercy,
A story of peace and light.  (repeat)

Refrain:
For the darkness shall turn to dawning,
And the dawning to noonday bright;
And Christ’s great kingdom shall come on earth,
The kingdom of love and light.

We all have A Story to Tell to the Nations; one of belief, of trust, and of faith.  On this special night, the Lord became flesh and came to dwell with us in the neighborhood.  As we go out these doors in a few minutes, I implore us all to share our own stories of expectations, failures, successes, of love, of mercy, and of compassion with one another, and of Christmases good and bad.  I implore us to share our smallest of feelings and experiences of “God with us”, as this is the night of Emmanuel, the ultimate night of God with us, and the beginning of the new covenant between God and humankind. 

Let us go and share the stories of our ancestor’s and their faith; like that of Mary and Joseph, on a night so long ago in a small town called Bethlehem.  It is a story to give thanks to the Lord for and to continue telling to the nations of the world so that all can see the great things God has done.

The song entitled, We’ve a Story to Tell to the Nations is one of the most beloved hymns that tells about the Kingdom of God, coming to earth, as Jesus did this night, and its message is as much a Christmas song as Silent Night is….Hear its ending now…as it rings true ….

 We’ve a Savior to show to the nations

who the path of sorrow hath trod,

that all of the world’s great peoples,

might come to the truth of God…might come to the truth of God

Refrain:
For the darkness shall turn to dawning,
And the dawning to noonday bright;
And Christ’s great kingdom shall come on earth,
The kingdom of love and light. He came, not to bring fear but joy to the world; a message of love for all time. Jesus’ birthday is the first, last, and only story of Chistmas that explains why we give gifts to each other on Christmas morning and celebrate these days each year.  His is the story to tell to the world.  The story that should never end being told.  His story, like our own, is God’s story of the personal being universal…Thanks be to God. Amen.

Your Giving is an act of worship!

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