“A Reason for Rejoicing”
December 24, 2015
By John Partridge
Scripture: Isaiah 9:2-7 Titus 2:11-14 Luke 2:1-20
Eight hundred years before the birth of Jesus, the prophet Isaiah proclaimed, “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.” (Isaiah 9:2-7)
Today we say things like, “It was as if someone had flipped a switch.” Or talk about how “a light went on” when we discover great new ideas or hear news that might transform our lives. That is exactly the idea that Isaiah was trying to communicate. A light would come into the darkness and the world would be transformed. Joy was increased, people celebrated as if it was Thanksgiving or the end of a war, people threw off the burdens that had weighed them down, soldiers retired and burned their boots and their blood stained clothes. It would be a day of unimaginable celebration and it came because a child was born who would be a Mighty God and the Prince of Peace.
And for eight hundred years the people of Israel remembered God’s promises and they waited… and hoped.
And then, as we read in the gospel of Luke, God came to earth as a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger. And the angels sang, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace, goodwill, toward men.” (Luke 2:1-20) The shepherds rejoiced at the news and went into town to see for themselves and as they returned, they glorified God and lifted up praises for the things that they had seen and heard.
It was a moment that changed the world.
The creator of the universe came to earth and put on humanity, became one of us, so that we could be rescued, saved, purified, perfected, and made fit for heaven. God came to do what we could never do for ourselves, he came to sacrifice himself so that we could be transformed and, through his power and sacrifice, made good enough to enter into his perfect home.
In Titus 2:11-14, it says…
11 For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. 12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.
God came to earth so that he could pour out mercy and grace upon the earth for all people.
It is the coming of Jesus and his sacrifice for us that teaches us to say “no” to our culture, to say “no” to the corrupt desires that pull us away from God, and that gives us the strength to live lives of godliness. Just as Israel did before the coming of the Messiah, today it is our turn to wait… and hope. But as we do we remember not only the promise, but we also remember the reason for our hope.
Jesus, the Son of God, the rescuer of all humanity, the creator of the universe, who put on human flesh and sacrificed himself so that we could be rescued from ourselves, purified, and transformed into something greater than we could have ever imagined.
Tonight we remember that night long ago, that silent night that brought joy to the world.
Tonight we remember… not just a baby in a manger.
We remember that tiny baby gave all of humanity… a reason for rejoicing.
Did you benefit from reading this?
Click here if you would like to subscribe to these messages.
You have been reading a message presented at Trinity United Methodist Church on the date noted on the first page. Rev. John Partridge is the pastor at Trinity of Perry Heights in Massillon, Ohio. Duplication of this message is a part of our Media ministry, if you have received a blessing in this way, we would love to hear from you. Letters and donations in support of the Media ministry may be sent to Trinity United Methodist Church, 3757 Lincoln Way E., Massillon, Ohio 44646. These messages are available to anyone regardless of membership. You may subscribe to these messages by writing to the address noted, or by contacting us at firstname.lastname@example.org. To subscribe to the electronic version sign up at http://eepurl.com/vAlYn. These messages can also be found online at http://www.scribd.com/Pastor John Partridge. All Scripture references are from the New International Version unless otherwise noted.