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Sermon for Advent Vespers 3

Note:  The sermon is more of a devotional thought less exposition because it was delivered at the Children’s Sunday School service which we have typically held on the third Sunday in Advent.  The sermon picks up on the themes of light and darkness which were clearly in the program that night but may not be so clear to anyone outside that context.

The audio for the sermon can be found here 06 Sermon for Advent Vespers 3.mp3

A link to the image of the earth at night from NASA is here http://visibleearth.nasa.gov/view.php?id=79803


Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus.  Amen.

Light in the darkness.  Jesus is the Light in the world darkened by sin and death and evil.

That is our prayer this week:

Lord Jesus Christ, we implore You to hear our prayers and to lighten the darkness of our hearts by Your gracious visitation;

The Son of God came down from heaven was born of Mary by the Holy Spirit and so entered the realm of earthly darkness.  In order to bring light in the darkness.

NASA just released an amazing picture high resolution satellite picture of the earth at night called the black marble.  All the lights of all the big cities look like splotches of color and it’s pretty easy to figure which big city is where.  There are also great swathes of darkness, places where there are very few artificial lights, the Sahara Desert and the Congo of Africa, the Great Basin out west, hundreds, sometimes thousands of square miles of darkness.  This is what we have done to the darkness.  We have created our own light.  We have attempted to overcome the physical darkness of our world with artificial light and it works up to a point, as long as the fuel for that light lasts.  When it fails, the darkness seems even darker.

Do we not also do the same thing with the spiritual darkness that surrounds us?  We create the artificial light of man-made religions, of purely secular traditions, of self-styled morality all in the name of freedom, rejecting the true Light from above.  And these artificial spiritual lights can last for years.  We seem to have a tremendous ability for such self-made spiritual light.  But when it fails, the darkness comes crashing in all the darker.

And yet, still the Lord comes.  Jesus comes to bring light to a world darkened by sin and lit only with the artificial light of man-made religion.  It may be worth noting that in Revelation 21, in the New Jerusalem, there is no sun or moon.  The entire city is lit by the light coming from the Lamb on the throne.  Jesus Christ is the eternal light.  At Christmas time we celebrate that He was born far from home and laid in the wooden manger, the humble events of His birth foreshadowing His rejection by most and His path to the cross, all of it pre-ordained by the Most High God.  All of it to bring light into our sin-darkened world, all of it to call us out of darkness and into His marvelous light.

This is the message of Christmas.  The children tonight have done a fine job of proclaiming that message: Jesus who created the world and everything in it has come in the same flesh of our first parents Adam and Eve in order to redeem the world to set it right.  Jesus, Son of God, born of Mary, born to live and die and be raised on Easter morning.  The message of Christmas is what makes Christmas truly merry.  Jesus was born into this world to rescue it from sin; on Christmas night, Christ was born to rescue us all.  Amen.

The peace which passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds through faith in Christ Jesus.  Amen.

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