Saturday, Christmas Eve, December 24, 2022
Reader: “A Savior is born!”
Response: “Who is Christ the Lord.”
Scripture: Isaiah 9:2-7, Luke 2:1-5
The people who walk in darkness
will see a great light.
For those who live in a land of deep darkness,
a light will shine.
You will enlarge the nation of Israel,
and its people will rejoice.
They will rejoice before you
as people rejoice at the harvest
and like warriors dividing the plunder.
For you will break the yoke of their slavery
and lift the heavy burden from their shoulders.
You will break the oppressor’s rod,
just as you did when you destroyed the army of Midian.
The boots of the warrior
and the uniforms bloodstained by war
will all be burned.
They will be fuel for the fire.
For a child is born to us,
a son is given to us.
The government will rest on his shoulders.
And he will be called:
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
His government and its peace
will never end.
He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David
for all eternity.
The passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies
will make this happen!
At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire. (This was the first census taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria.) All returned to their own ancestral towns to register for this census. And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David’s ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. He took with him Mary, to whom he was engaged, who was now expecting a child.
Time is a funny thing. In our world it is a linear measure, giving us a beginning, middle, and ending, a starting and stopping point. The irony is that often we wait for “time to pass” while we wait for something else to “begin.” Several different kinds of things are happening within that time framework. (And you are thinking, “Dan, stay away from the eggnog!”) There is a point here.
For many thousands of years God’s people had looked for a Redeemer of some sort, a Messiah who would free them from bondage and subjugation to some ruling power. There had been many hints through the years, but no action and then . . . ” At that time the Roman Emperor . . . ” God, who dwells in timelessness, entered measured time. By naming Augustus and the Roman Empire, Luke made sure we knew this entrance was not myth but history, measured time which had a beginning, middle, and end. We have names, dates, places, events all occurring in chronological time. Who would ever think that the simple words “At that time . . . ” would make it possible for linear time to find its way into eternity and make it possible for us to leave time as we know it to dwell forever with God in unending eternity? What we celebrate tomorrow is so much more than the birth of a baby. The time of waiting is nearly up. We celebrate his humble entrance into our time. Glory!
Music: “And the Glory” from Messiah Voces8 (The best version I’ve heard!)
Fabulous Bonus: “O Holy Night” Voctave! (Two of the best a cappella groups,
One classical & one pop)
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!
Christ, to thee with God the Father,
and, O Holy Ghost, to thee,
hymn and chant and high thanksgiving
and unwearied praises be:
honor, glory, and dominion,
and eternal victory,
evermore and evermore!
―Of the Father’s Love Begotten, 4th century