Merry Christmas! Our December 24 Christmas Eve worship service is available on video through Facebook. You may view it without being a member of Facebook. All scheduled worship services from Thanksgiving through the end of the year will be online only with minimal in-person participation to reduce COVID risks.
The December 27 Sunday worship service and Christmas day service will be held without in-person attendance because of the rise in COVID cases in our state. They are scheduled to be streamed live on the DeSoto Redeemer Facebook page. We will post a direct link to the recording here as soon as it is possible after the service.
We are glad to share our worship with you. Click on “Contact Us” above to find out more about our faith family and what we believe.
Christmas Eve Sermon
Isaiah 9:2-7 | Psalm 96
Titus 2:11-14 | Luke 2:1-14
It must have been a cold night. We tend to think of Israel as a warm place, desert and all. But I grew up in a desert. When the sun goes down, so does the temperature, quickly. After a long and possibly warm, in spite of the time of year, journey, it probably got quite cold, cold in terms of temperature, and also in terms of their reception. There was not room in the inn, which wasn’t necessarily bad news. The stable was probably a safer place to stay, but instead of a bed, there was straw to keep warm in, and of course, the smell of the animals to freshen their nostrils as they slept.
But, there wasn’t time to settle in and rest for that. Mary’s time to deliver arrived. She went into labor. Joseph probably got some of the women from the inn to watch her, as he went on another journey, to find the local mid-wife, the angel of delivery. We like to think of the event as just Mary and Joseph. There were undoubtedly more people there at the time of birth. There were at least mid-wives, or the local wise women to help deliver the baby. Mary didn’t do it by herself. And Joseph probably got to spend the rest of the night boiling water (at least that’s what they always tell the father to do in the movies – it gets them out of the way and makes them feel useful).
Then the announcement, “It’s a boy!” Congratulations were given to the happy couple. The mid wives went home, and Mary, Joseph and the newborn Jesus finally got to lay down for some rest. At least that is what they hoped, but it didn’t happen the usual way of things. No, this was just the beginning.
Out in the fields, there were other angels working, heavenly angels. Like all angels, they have the task of delivering a message. The message they give is not to the king, nor to the priests, nor even a prophet, as angelic messages of old. No, their message is to quite a different lot, although their message is the most important ever sent by angels, it is delivered to shepherds. Simple shepherds who are out in the fields for a similar reason, their ewes are giving birth to their lambs. They were probably cold and tired too. In an ironic twist, the angel’s message of new birth fits this scene, God’s Son, God’s Paschal Lamb has been born in David’s city of Bethlehem. “It’s a boy!” And God is acting towards humanity in a new and different way, but in a very human and mortal way. God has become Incarnate in this baby, the Son of God has been born among us, the Messiah, the Christ has been born. And the whole heavens becomes awash with the songs of praise from the heavenly choir. This is the greatest birth in the history of Creation itself!
Is it any wonder that the shepherds leave their precious new born lambs alone in the fields and journey to see the newborn Lamb of God? Is it any wonder that they must go and see for themselves? Cold and tired, they journey to be warmed by his presence and view his new life.
Christ’s birth fills them with joy and warmth, and they give praise to God for the gift of his son. We too, 2000 years later do the same. We share in the joy this season as mortals have since. The joy of the season is the joy of the promise of new birth and new life, of God’s very presence among us. In this babe is the hope of us all. The innocence of new life, in this child is also the innocence of God’s Son, and the gift from him of the taking away of the guilt of our sin. This new life is also the hope of the destroyer of death in his very powerful life. This presence of God among us, Emmanuel, is the breaker of the power of evil over us. God comes to us in the form of a babe, but with the very power of God Himself. In this child we have life, and aspirations, and hope, and joy. The coldness of the world is warmed by his very presence, and in and with him we can find rest. Is there any doubt that we too should praise, honor and worship him as well? For in the birth of this child God gives to all of his people the greatest gift we can desire – God’s very self, God’s very love. Let us always join in singing his praise, and laud, honor and worship him.