Pastor Weise’s Sermon – Light of Light

Pastor Weise's Sermon - Wrestling with God

Pastor Weise’s Sermon – Light of Light

Galatians 4.1-7/St. Luke 2.22-40

Christmas I/December 30, 2018

Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd/Good Shepherd Community Chapel, Sauk Rapids, MN

Rev. Keith R. Weise, pastor/chaplain

LISTEN TO SERMON

Invocation    In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

I          Right now

we are in the midst

of the darkest days of the year.

 

The sun doesn’t come up until almost 8—

and it’s dark by 5 o’clock in the evening.

 

Officially—

today we will have only 8 hours and 45 minutes of daylight—

that’s all.

 

II         But even in these dark days—

there is light—

There is great light—

There is

Light to bring revelation to the Gentiles

Light to reveal the glory of God’s people Israel.

 

III       That light—

is Jesus Christ.

 

On this 6th day of Christmas—

we hear Simeon sing in the temple

as he picks up Jesus and sees in him the fulfillment of God’s promise—

He would not—

and he did not die until he had seen the Lord’s Messiah.

Simeon saw the light.                                      (St. Luke 2.25-35)

 

Today—

we hear Anna give thanks to the Lord

and tell everyone she sees

that Jesus is the fulfillment

of God’s promise of redemption for Israel.

Anna saw the light.                                         (St. Luke 2.36-38)

 

Today—

WE sing along with the angels in heaven

and we come and worship Christ, the newborn King—

because—

we too, have seen the light—

even Jesus Christ, our Lord.

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IV        In the midst of our darkness—

Jesus is OUR light.

He is, as we confess in the Nicene Creed—

Light of light.

 

In St. John’s gospel

Jesus says—

I am the light of the world.  He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.                                                   (St. John 8.12)

                                    As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world, he says.

              (St. John 9.5)

            And Isaiah told us this would happen.

The people who walked in darkness, he says,

                        Have seen a great light;

                        Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death,

                        Upon them a light has shined.                                                                        (Isaiah 9.2)

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V         In these dark and dreary days of winter—

Christ is our light.

 

And not just now—

when it’s dark and dreary—

but EVERY DAY—

EVERY SINGLE DAY—

Christ is our light.

 

When we walk with him—

we never walk in darkness.

When we live with him—

we live in the light of life.

When we listen to him—

he enlightens every step and every move we make—

for his Word

is a lamp to our feet

                                                and a light to our path.                                                            (Psalm 119.105)

 

Christ is our light

and in Him is no darkness at all,                                                                        (I John 1.5)

                                    St. John says.

 

VI        So no matter how dark it gets outside—

Jesus will always be our light.

 

That’s why we have candles here in Church—

they remind us that Christ is our light.

 

It’s why we have lights on the Christmas tree—

those little lights point to the Great Light who is Christ, our Lord.

 

That’s why

the cross shines—

and

the stable glows in the nativity scene under the cross—

and

the candles flicker around the one here by the altar—

Because every single light in this dark world

proclaims this truth about our Lord Jesus Christ—

HE IS OUR LIGHT.

                                                                        He is our   

heavenly light.

holy light.

eternal light in the darkness.

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VII      And there is still darkness

Not just outside—

Not just at night—

There is darkness in our hearts.

 

Every  one of us—

you

me

every last one of us—

we all have that part of our hearts

that really loves the darkness.

 

It’s that sinful, secret, part of our heart

that likes

to hold grudges

or

gossip about our neighbors

or

gripe about the Christmas presents we just got

or

complain about our brothers and sisters in the faith.

 

It’s that part of our heart

that doesn’t really believe what God says.

that’s always questioning his Word.

that’s always angry at God for some reason.

that always wonders, “When is God going to do something good for me?

 

In the darkness of our hearts—

there are

scary things—

awful—unholy—things—

SINFUL THINGS.

You don’t have to tell me the details of your personal darkness.

I can imagine from my own

just how bad your darkness is.

 

Jesus tells us that out of this darkness

out of the darkness of our hearts

comes things like

evil thoughts

                                                murders

adulteries

fornications

thefts

false witness

and

blasphemies.

            And these sinful fruits of darkness

 defile us all.                                                    (St. Matthew 15.19)

 

And Jesus also tells us

that nothing is secret that will not be revealed, nor anything hidden that will not be known and come to light.                                                                            (St. Luke 8.17)

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VIII    So Jesus comes to us.

At Christmas, Christ comes to us

who love the dark.

 

He comes to those of us who love the dark a little—

and

He comes to those of us who love the dark a lot.

 

Into our darkness—

Jesus comes—

and he shines his light on our sins.

 

He shines his light

on the darkness of our hearts—

and he says again what he said the very beginning—

LET THERE BE LIGHT!                                                               (Genesis 1.3)

 

And as his light did the holy work of lighting up the whole world at the beginning—

now Jesus’ light  does the holy work

of lighting up the darkness of our hearts.

 

IX       Jesus has come to us with his holy light.

So open up the darkness of your heart—

and welcome the light of his grace.

 

By his light—

Christ will destroy the sins that plunge you into the darkness.

Christ will restore  your true humanity

as re-create you in the Image of God.

Christ/He will light up the darkest parts

of your heart

of your life

and

even of the whole wide world

with his grace

with his peace

with his promise of eternal life.

 

Christ has come with his light.

So do not hide in the dark!

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X         St. John tells us

All things were made through [Christ], and without Him nothing was made that was made.  In Him was life, and the life was the LIGHT OF MEN.

And

THE LIGHT SHINES IN THE DARKNESS,

            AND THE DARKNESS DID NOT COMPREHEND IT.

            THE DARKNESS DID NOT OVERCOME IT.                                  (St. John 1.3-5)

            and

The darkness will never do either of those things.

 

By his light—

Christ reveals himself

as the Light of the world.

His light

is the light of all the nations and all their people.

is the light of the glory of his people Israel.

is the light of heaven

shining brightly here on earth.

 

XI       And his light—

is YOUR light.

 

Even now

as you struggle with the power of darkness—

Christ is your light.

as you struggle through these long, dark days and nights of winter—

Christ is your light.

as you struggle even more with the darkness that lives in your heart—

Christ is your light.

 

And

these candles

and

these Christmas lights

and

that light in that stable

are all earthly reminders

of this heavenly truth—

CHRIST IS OUR LIGHT.

 

            And the light does shine.

You don’t need to turn on a switch—

the light is already on.

 

You never have to change a bulb—

Christ’s light never goes out.

 

You don’t even have to light a candle—

Christ’s light is always ON—

and it’s never going out.

 

XII      By his birth—

Christ has revealed his light—

to you—to me—and to the whole world.

 

Every moment of every day here on this earth—

we live in the light of Christ.

 

And when Christ welcomes us into the New Heavens and the New Earth—

when we are all gathered into the New Jerusalem—

we will live in the light of Christ forever and ever—

and it will be more glorious than any light we have ever yet seen.

 

Because [this city –our eternal home—the New Jerusalem—has] no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminate(s) it.  THE LAMB IS ITS LIGHT.              (Revelation 21.23)

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XIII    So if you must

turn on the lights/light a candle/light up the Christmas tree—

do whatever you can to give yourself some light.

 

And every time you see A light—

know this—THE light shines in the darkness.

The light shines for you.

 

That light is your life.

That light—is Jesus Christ.

 

Praise God for the Light.

Amen.

 

Invocation    In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

 

Hymn of Response:  From Heaven Above To Earth I Come.

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