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Great Joy

December 25, 2012

Christmas’ Eve Christmas' Eve

“Then Jesus, still teaching in the temple courts, cried out, “Yes, you know me, and you know where I am from. I am not here on my own, but he who sent me is true. You do not know him, but I know him because I am from him and he sent me.”

John 7:28-29

Today is Christmas Eve. Tomorrow it will be Christmas. Christmas has come again. Thank God, for you’ve been blessed to be able to come to a church tonight where Christ is preached. For us, it is a blessing to have God’s favor. When the pastor greets you after the service with the words: “God bless you,” he or she is not just saying goodbye or hello. Rather, he or she desires God’s best for you in the name of God. This is not a simple greeting. And when you bless someone, you also attract the favor of God towards you. The effect of the blessing is a multiplier, since it is given by God to his children.

Our intention in the church is to preach Christ. His word can only be found in the Bible. Yes, it really is a blessing from God that you can be in this church today. But you may ask, “How is it miraculous for me to be in church today?” “After all, I just decided to come,” you may add. Indeed there is a miracle. Yes? What is it? Well, tonight, I would like to ask you a question, and I would like you to answer it quietly. Why did you decide to come to church tonight? There are so many interesting things to do on a holiday like today! There are so many things to prepare or just things that can entertain us. Surely, tonight, you may have one of these three answers on the tip of your tongue.

The first is: I came because it is my habit to come to church on Christmas or Christmas Eve. I came today to fulfill a tradition. For I am protestant, or evangelical, or Lutheran and because my parents brought me up well and it’s part of my families’ customs. As a child, I was brought up that one has to come to church. Or, perhaps, I came to cheer up my family. Or maybe I came because I have been brought. If this first answer pertains to you, then this sermon tonight is definitely for you.

The second answer may be: I don’t really know why I’m here. I decided it at the last minute and I came here, but sometimes I wonder what brought me to church and what I am doing in church! If you answered like this, then this sermon tonight is especially for you.

And the third answer may be: I am here because I believe in God, I believe in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior and I have given my life to him. I want to make him happy every day by keeping his word, as best I can, in spite of my mistakes and sins and I want to be committed to a visible Christian community. With my presence at every service, not only at Christmas, but on every Sunday, I want to show him my adoration and my devotion. If you answered like this, I will tell you, this message tonight will be a blessing for you.

And what is the message tonight?

There is someone who wants to share a great joy with you. There is someone who wants to change your life, to fill it with joy. But is this even possible? Why, because it’s Christmas? Is it possible to be joyous in a world that every day seems to reflect sadness, corruption, death, war, lies, dishonesty, theft, violence and wickedness? Yes, indeed it is possible and that is the miracle of Jesus’ coming to the world. He wants to change the world. But what it requires is that you believe in that message. It is necessary to believe that he is the Son of God. He came into the world to show that love, joy, honesty, kindness, life, peace and truth are not part of a mushy Christmas movie, but that these are true. And that reality may come into your life today, if you really start believing in Him. He himself says that God sent him and he says of God himself that “he who sent me is true,” he is “reliable”. What words: “trustworthy” and “reliable”!

Is there someone trustworthy who can change my life? Yes, he is here today, and on every Sunday in every church where Christ is preached. The reality that we see and do not like is the product of people who do not have Christ in their hearts. But if you have Christ in your heart, He will start, from today on, to change your reality, your life and your future beyond even this life.

What is the miracle of being in this church today?

It is the chance to listen to this offer. There is someone who wants to change your life. And now He is proposing it to you. Today, a miracle can happen in your life. It’s what you’ve been looking for; for a long time. Would you like to take this opportunity? If you choose, a miracle could happen in your life today. Believe in Him; trust in the Son of God and he (not I) promises you, that your life will take a 180 degree turn. Perhaps you’d like say these words to him with me:

“Lord Jesus:

I’m sorry for the things that I have done wrong in my life. Please forgive me. I now repent and leave behind all that is wrong.

Thank you for dying on the cross for me, so that I could receive forgiveness and freedom.

Thank you, for offering me your forgiveness and, because you promised me, your Holy Spirit. I know that at this time I will receive your Holy Spirit.

Please come into my life through your Holy Spirit, on this Christmas, and be with me forever.

Thank you, Lord Jesus. Amen”

I just want to wish you a very Merry Christmas, but specifically to wish you that kind of Christmas. Well, if you really can do this prayer from the bottom of your heart, you will begin to feel and experience the true meaning of Christmas from now on in your life. Not only on December 25, but every second of your life. I would like to tell you that in this church we want to grow in that faith and trust and preach every Sunday that God is alive and powerful. I hope to see you here every Sunday so that your life can be changed and be truly blessed.

The peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Amen 

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