Isaiah 9: 6———–John 1: 14———-Luke 2: 8-20
Elaine York, Commissioned Lay Pastor, Guest Preacher
Note: Video is not available for this service due to church cancelation for heavy snowfall.
The Day After Christmas
December 26, 2021
Good Morning and Thank You for inviting me back to your church today! I love coming here as I have quite a few special friends here in your congregation.
Let us pray:
May God be glorified in this sermon this morning and may the Holy Spirit come into this place and wherever you are. In Jesus name, we pray! Amen.
Today is the Day After Christmas! Many of us have had many days after Christmas. Just what do we do with this day? The anticipation of finally getting ready for the big day is now over. The presents are all opened, the leftovers fill the refrigerator and hopefully the mess has been cleaned up.
I say we take a huge sigh and begin to relax. Every year we promise not to get caught up in the commercialism of Christmas, not to buy so many presents for others and not to buy the tons of food that cause us to wonder when we ever will get the bills all paid. It can become anticlimactic.
Growing up in a very middle-class famiiy, my mother would begin a new Christmas Club Savings Account at her bank each year and put aside money for Christmas for the next year. Do any of you remember those bank plans?
As children, this is the day that we become very serious about examining all of our toys and putting kits together, assembling big toys with our parents and trying to find new batteries even if we need to steal them from flashlights and trying to locate the directions that have gotten lost in the wrapping paper. Then as we get older, we call all of our friends to find out what they got and to make plans to meet with them as soon as we can.
And now something that has circulated on the web. Author unknown
The 12 Days of Christmas
The partridge in a pear tree was Jesus Christ.
Two turtle doves were the Old and New Testaments.
Three French hens stood for faith, hope and love.
The four calling birds were the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
The five golden rings recalled the Torah or Law, the first five books of the Old Testament.
The six geese a-laying stood for the six days of creation.
Seven swans a-swimming represented The sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit: Prophesy, Serving, Teaching, Exhortation, Contribution Leadership, and Mercy.
The eight maids a-milking were the eight beatitudes.
Nine ladies dancing were the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self Control.
The ten lords a-leaping were the ten commandments.
The eleven pipers piping stood for the eleven faithful disciples.
The twelve drummers drumming symbolized the twelve points of belief in the Apostles’ Creed.
Today is also referred to as Boxing Day. Have you ever heard of this day? According to Trafalgar.com, Boxing Day is a UK Christmas Tradition. This day is celebrated on December 26th for those living in the UK and other countries that previously were part of the British Empire including Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the Bahamas.
What does this day have to do with boxing you ask? Well, nothing!
The short answer to that is absolutely nothing. There are a few theories as to how boxing day began, the most common amongst them dating back around 800 years to the Middle Ages. During this period, it was common practice for churches to open alms boxes on the day after Christmas, distributing all the money inside amongst the poor. To this day some churches still follow this
practice, whilst many around the world take part in charitable events or give back to their local community on Boxing Day.
Another commonly believed theory is that on the day after Christmas, servants of the wealthy used to be allowed to head home to visit loved ones and have some well deserved time off.
Wealthy masters would traditionally gift their workers with a Christmas box, containing food, gifts and maybe even a bonus, to thank them for all their work. This idea of a Christmas box also lends itself to yet another theory, whereby tradespeople such as milkmen and butchers would spend the days after Christmas collecting money or gifts left to them, to thank them for their service all year.
Boxing Day in the UK
The modern notion of Boxing Day is less about gifting boxes and more about shopping. In fact in the UK, the day after Christmas is one of the busiest shopping days of the entire year (other contenders for this accolade include Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the last Saturday before Christmas). Most retailers slash their prices for the annual Boxing Day sales, which now start around Eve and last well into the new year. Visit any high street in the UK on the 26th of December and you’ll likely find crowds of shoppers, elsewhere in the UK. Brits recognize the day with crazy antics including freezing cold swims in the English Channel, bridge jumping into icy cold rivers, and plenty of football. Of course, as my 14-year-old grandson learned early on, football in the UK is soccer but don’t call it that if you do not want to be made fun of or ridiculed.
My grandson, Dalton is attending Boarding school by choice at Millfield in England.
The other countries mentioned celebrate Boxing Day with sports picnics, heading to the beach, yacht races, and singing and dancing.
We turn now to our scripture readings for today.
In Isaiah 9:6 we read: “For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given, And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will becalled Wonderful, , Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Finally, the wait is over. Especially over the last four week of Advent we have been waiting and anticipating the birth of this special baby. We have decorated our sanctuaries, lit our Advent candles, sung carols and heard scriptures and sermons about the coming of this baby to be named Jesus. And now it has happened and we should praise and thank our God and celebrate.
On Friday, December 10, my daughter, Marilyn’s former nanny and now receptionist delivered a beautiful nine-pound 21-inch baby boy named Boon. She had been in induced labor for 2 days and finally a C-Section was performed. We all felt relieved that finally this baby was born especially for the Mother and Father.
Finally, the prophesies that we learned in the Old Testament have come true. The verse says that a son has been given to us. Imagine that. To Us. And that He will be wonderful. He will be the most phenomenal counselor we could ever ask for. He will be everlasting. He will never leave us and He will bring peace. What a gift we have been given.
And now according to my favorite author, Max Lucado:
When Christ was born, so was our hope. This is why I love Christmas. The event invites us believe the wildest of promises: he did away with every barrier, fence, sin, bent, debt, and grave.
Anything that might keep us from him was demolished. He only awaits our word to walk through the door. Invite him in, escort him to the seat of honor, and pull out his chair. Clear the table; clear the calendar. Call the kids and neighbors. Christmas is here. Christ is here.
One request from you, and God will do again what he did then: scatter the night with everlasting light. He’ll be born in you. Let “Silent Night” be sung, every heart can be a manger, every day can be a Christmas. The Christmas miracle—a yearlong celebration!
We turn now to our second scripture reading for this morning: John 1:14, ” And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.”
According to daily verse- knowing Jesus.com, The apostle John who wrote these
words and saw Jesus in person as He was made flesh. John looked at Jesus in amazement and worshipped at His feet. John lived with Him, walked with Him, and talked with Him.
John spent over three years with Jesus – listening intently to His Gracious words and astonished by His amazing truth. watching Him attentively as He fulfilled the prophetic Scriptures — beholding His glory, the glory as of the only begotten son of the Father, full of grace and truth.
Yes, John had been there and could tell us as an eye witness that, “In the beginning was the Word, and Word was with God and the Word was God, and the Word became fresh and dwelt among us.
In our third scripture reading for today, Luke 2:8-20, we read of the Birth of Jesus and about the Shepherds and Angels.
According to Stephen Sheane from Sermon Central to which I subscribe, After Christmas is good time to reflect on what you have just seen and heard. How many times have you heard the Christmas story? I’m sure most of you could come up here today, and tell the story. You heard enough sermons, prayed enough prayers and have rubbed up against the truth long enough to get a callous on your heart so the real truth cannot penetrate deep into your daily life. The first way to respond to the Christmas message is to make it fresh in your heart by pondering it in a new way.
If you think about it some Christmas traditions are very strange. The greeting on one certain Christmas card goes like this: “Christmas is just plain weird. What other time of year do you sit around staring at a dead tree in your living room and eat candy out of your socks.” There are truths” and some things about the whole Christmas story that are also pretty weird. A virgin teenager gets pregnant. Visits by angels. Caesar’s tax. The trip to Bethlehem but no room in the Inn. God born in a stable. It is all too incredible to believe. You have heard this story so many times but have you ever stopped to really think about it?
C.S. Lewis said, “we don’t need to be told new ideas so much as we need to be reminded of old truths.”
This Christmas we remember again the true meaning of Christmas. God gave himself for us. He was born as one of us so that each of us might be born again into the family of God. That baby born in Bethlehem almost 2000 years ago is the savior of all of us. Let’s not forget the real reason for Christmas this year.
The shepherds had witnessed the world’s greatest birth announcement. I am sure you have heard and read those words many times but let me just highlight one word and that is the word YOU.
Luke 2:10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
The angels said to the shepherds: I bring YOU good news (of great joy for all the people). A savior has been born to YOU. This is a sign for YOU. YOU will find the baby… The angel’s message to the shepherds was that Jesus is YOUR Savior, YOUR King, YOUR Christ, YOUR gift – straight from God. Just for you. Sometimes we focus on the fact that ‘God so loved the WORLD’ that we forget
‘God so loved YOU that He gave His only Son’.
The fact that Jesus came for you means that you need to respond to his incredible gift. What will YOU do with Jesus? How will YOU personally respond? Don’t look at the person sitting beside. Don’t look at the worship teams or the pastor. God’s gift is for YOU and YOU have to determine how you will respond. You respond through praising Him.
The next way we respond to the gift of Christ this Christmas is by proclaiming him. Treasuring Christ is something we do not do by keeping Him to ourselves but by making Him known to the whole world.
Just like the shepherds who went away that first Christmas to tell everyone they met, there are so many who have yet to come and see Jesus. Like the angels who interrupted the shepherds sleep, the world today needs the light of Christ to come and wake us up from our sleep and point us to the one who can truly save. Amen.