Christmas Message 2022

December 24, 2022

Here is video of the sermon from Christmas Eve on Sunday, December 24th, 2022 at Glennville Methodist Church. Full Manuscript text is below the video.

Here is the text of my sermon manuscript for Christmas Eve worship services on Saturday, December 24th, 2022 at Glennville Methodist Church. Early children had read the Christmas story from Luke 2:1-20.

What would you do if you accidentally became Santa Claus? If you have to deliver all the presents around the world? That is the scenario that was in the Tim Allen family comedy The Santa Claus. It is fascinating because he becomes Santa Claus because he accidentally startles the current Santa on the roof calling him to fall to Santa’s demise and now according to the rules Tim Allen’s character must now become the new Santa Claus. And in the journey Tim Allen’s character learns a little about being a better dad and we all learn a little about Christmas.

The Santa Claus cinematic universe set up an interesting scenario. If you are beside Santa Claus when he meets his end you have to become the next Santa Claus. What if the next person was someone who does not celebrate Christmas. What if it’s a child? What if it’s someone who just escaped prison and they were serving a life time sentence? These are all scenarios that are possible in this universe. It is such a bizarre scenario that this year Disney plus released a limited series with some of the original cast and they tried to retcon, change the original story, to make it sound like just anyone can not become a Santa Claus by accident.

Friends, here is the good news for Christmas. There are no mistakes with God. You are not some accident that magically falls into earth. No, God has made you for this very moment. He has made you with purpose.

One of the interesting stories I read early on in my tenure here in Glennville was about how we had appealed our census data here. During the disruption of the pandemic it seemed hundreds of residents in the Smith prison were not accounted for which would affect our federal funding and more in our community.

Everyone counts to God. Christmas is the reminder of this. No one is created on accident and everyone counts to God. 

Now this is pretty important especially on a day like today. I know this has been a pretty challenging year for some in our community. For my family we were blessed to celebrate Brand’y mom’s 60th birthday only to have her die suddenly a few short weeks later. 

Grief is a hard thing to deal with. It is also a strange thing to deal with. There are moments when we feel like Sandra may walk right in. There are moments like at Lydia’s Christmas dance recital where we are used to seeing Sandra go and stand down front elbowing others out of the way, standing in the aisle to get the video on her phone, even though we knew she heard the announcement not to do that.

In the same way we have had grief in our family this past year we also know the world continues to grieve. Thousands of Russians were conscripted to go fight the so-called “special military operation” or war in Ukraine. Ukrainians have limited power, water, and resources to stay warm in the dead of winter and we know American families who have had loved ones deployed as part of a surge of troops to serve as deterrence for Russian advancing further. 

It is in the midst of our broken world, in the midst of our own lives, that we need to hear the Christmas message this year. We need to hear that we are not here by accident and that we matter to God and the life of Jesus proves this.

Consider the broken world that Jesus was born into. We would expect for a king or the son of a king to be born in a palace in a safe and secure area. Yet, Jesus is born into a barn. We’ve talked about Herod the past few Sundays. He was the ruler over the area Jesus is born into. He had a palace, the Herodium, where he would be able to look over the town of Bethlehem. So we have this juxtaposition of earthly power, political skills, military might with Jesus, humble, lowly surroundings, no leaders coming out celebrate his birth but stinky shepherds… and not even the day shift, the B-team, the night crew.

Jesus came into the broken world for you and for me. We are not an accident and Jesus came for each one of us.

He came so that we can learn from Christ’s teachings but ultimately he came to save us. We matter to God because Jesus comes to help us with the one thing we can never do and that is to save ourselves. DA Carson has this quote about Jesus. He says:

If God had perceived that our greatest need was economic, he would have sent an economist. If he had perceived that our greatest need was entertainment, he would have sent us a comedian or an artist. If God had perceived that our greatest need was political stability, he would have sent us a politician. If he had perceived that our greatest need was health, he would have sent us a doctor. But he perceived that our greatest need involved our sin, our alienation from him, our profound rebellion, our death; and he sent us a Savior.

This means tonight you can accept the greatest gift off all, salvation from Jesus. It means you do not have to try harder this upcoming year but instead be more open to God’s leading. And it starts by asking to receive Jesus’ gift of forgiveness and making Christ the Lord over your entire life.

It also means we do not have to worry about accidentally becoming Santa Claus. We do not have to worry if we are accidents. That we can live lives with purpose. Even if we have had an incredibly tough year.

There was a New York state trooper who was dispatched for a 911 call during a storm. A motorist was in a car that went into a ditch and the snow plow came by and completely buried the car. The man had poor reception and called 911 several times but kept getting disconnected.

They were able to track him down to a several mile area but the trooper just had to keep looking through piles of snow to try to find the car.

After 10 hours the motorist was rescued by the trooper and it was just in the nick of time. You see the motorist car shut off from being buried in snow. The man was not able to get out and got so cold that his body quit shivering. 

This is very dangerous because it means your body is starting to shut down. Thankfully the trooper got him in the police car and warmed him up until they could connect to EMS.

Friends, I know this has been a tough year. But do not give up. You may feel like you are an accident, struggling with grief, doubt, loneliness or buried in snow. But do not give up. We have good news.

As Christians, even if we do not feel it in our hearts at times, we can say it with integrity, “the hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.”

Merry Christmas!