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"Ye heights of heaven adore Him"

Luke 2:1-20

Rev. Alan Taylor

Christmas Eve
St. John Lutheran Church  
Galveston, Texas

Tue, Dec 24, 2013 

+ In Nomine Jesu +

Grace to you and peace, from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Amen.

As of tonight, December 24, 2013, you are still free to believe that Jesus is the reason we celebrate Christmas.  You are free too to believe that He is the one who has brought peace to the earth.  Not necessarily peace between people, mind you, or, even between nations, but peace between heaven and earth, between God and you!  “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord… Suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

Those are, of course, God’s words, given to us through the Apostle Luke.  And again, as of tonight, December 24, 2013, you are still free to believe them, and, if, up to now, you’ve held your faith in relative anonymity and plan to do so in the future, you’ll likely be able to keep your belief’s with very little fear of repercussion.  Others who hold their belief’s privately, who, to one degree or another, may or may not actually believe what they are supposed to believe as a child of God, may even love you.  Although it would be better, or, I suppose I should say, it would be more acceptable to the keepers of political correctness, if you would just leave this season to Santa Claus, Rudolph and Frosty. 

Just this past week, Phil Robertson, one of the main characters in the A&E show “Duck Dynasty” lost his job.  He was fired from the program because, in an interview with GQ, the men’s style magazine, he said something that was considered vile and obscene.  What did he say?  Well, he was asked what he personally believed concerning a particular issue that’s hot topic these days in our country.  When asked the question, he said, “I believe what the Bible says.  It is a sin.”

Now, you may be wondering what the connection is between Phil Robertson being fired from Duck Dynasty and your freedom to be here tonight to revere and reflect on the birth of Christ.  Well, Phil Robertson, whose speech was ruled “vile and obscene” by those who make such rulings, wasn’t expressing a small minded bigoted opinion.  In fact, he wasn’t expressing an opinion at all.  Rather, he was simply repeating what God says.  We call that confessing the faith.  Phil Robertson was fired from his job for confessing his faith.

Amidst the glow of the candles and the peaceful sound of “Silent Night” this evening, we Christians need to be aware that a culture that denies there can be absolute truth will not long tolerate any truth.  If the word of God can be considered and called “vile and obscene,” those who believe it is true and who confess what it says because it is God’s will they do so, will not long be tolerated either.

It is time for you and me to join the Phil Robertson’s of the world.  Not because we’re looking for a fight, or, because we want to point our fingers at sinners.  God knows if we are going to do that we need only to turn our finger in the direction of ourselves.  No, it’s time for us to be vocal about what we believe, to proclaim the birth of Christ to a world that is in such desperate and dire need of the peace that only God can give.  Peace between God and mankind! 

What ensues may not be peace in the conventional sense.  We will, however, know the peace of having thrown a lifeline to a person who has been drowning beneath the waves of their own sin.  In the end, if Christmas is about love, God loving us and us loving our neighbor, we will have loved others, even though others may well call God’s love and our love “vile and obscene.”

As of tonight, it is OK for you to be here, to welcome and pay homage to Jesus, who came to bring the world, and you personally, peace through His forgiveness.  Whether it will be this time next year is likely, but certainly not guaranteed.  So, while it is still day, before the night comes, we join a chorus of our brothers and sisters who have sang these very words for nearly 1,700 years…

“O ye heights of heaven adore Him;

Angel hosts, His praises sing.

Powers, dominions, bow before Him

And extol our God and King.

Let no tongue on earth be silent,

Every voice in concert ring

Evermore and evermore.  Amen.”

The peace of God that passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus unto life everlasting.  Amen.

+ Soli Deo Gloria +

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