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All Roads Lead to Here

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I just wanted to take another moment to welcome you and thank you for coming to one or our Christmas Eve services. As it is for you, this time of year and these services are some of the most anticipated and meaningful services for any church and those who come. It’s at this time of year that we get to see Christmas concerts, Christmas plays, either here at the church or other churches where we have family performing in them. There have been several people who have told me they won’t be at this church for Christmas because they are visiting family, but that they will be at a church to celebrate Christmas Eve.
There are lots of reasons why we come to these services. Some of you are here specifically because this is your home church. Some of you are here because like those church members I just described, you are visiting family and this is the church that they attend. Some people are here because they love Christmas music. Some people are here because they love the candlelight part of the service and find great meaning in that. Some people came to see the Children’s program. There are lots of reasons to come to church at this time of year, but I believe all of you are here to come and celebrate the birth of Christ. There are lots of reasons why we are here today and maybe you are thinking that some of those things I listed are right, or maybe all of them, but the fact of the matter is that all these different reasons lead us all to here. They all lead us to celebrating the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. For whatever reason you are here to worship with us today I am truly grateful and I pray that you find great meaning in this service and a sense of peace and joy in your hearts as you leave this place and celebrate his birth in your homes and in this community.
One of the other parts of Christmas that many different people love is to drive around and see the Christmas lights. This is something that our family loves to do as well and Bekkah and I have done it even before our daughter Aubreigh was born. So when we moved to Kingman we asked around to find out if there were any places or neighborhoods that we needed to go so that we could see some of the best Christmas lights. Every single person we talked with told us that we had to go and see the Preston’s house on the other side of town. They put on the best show of lights in town and they have been doing it for years. Not everyone knew it was the Preston’s home but everyone said you have to go to that side of town by the Starbucks, or one person said just drive down Hualapai Mountain Road and you will see a bright flashing spot in town and that’s where you want to go. You can’t miss it. I still look out back at town on my way home at night and sure enough you can see the blue and white flashing and glowing coming from their house. All roads lead to here. We drove around and some some amazing houses with their Christmas lights and we have gone and seen the Preston’s house twice already because there is something joyful and heart-warming when you look at beautiful shining lights that people have thoughtfully put up.
It’s not just the super jazzed up and flashing lights that impress me, though. I like houses that are also decorated simply, or elegantly or ones that are creative. Some of my other favorite decorated houses that we have seen have been:
There was a house that simply had white lights across the front of their house and in the front was a manger scene with just Mary, Joseph, and Jesus in their front yard.
Another of my favorite houses had only half their yard decorated. The reason it was only half decorated was because there was the Grinch standing in the front lawn pulling the lights off the house and stuffing them into his bag. It still makes me chuckle every time I see it.
I love the houses that each has their own style or their own story they are trying to tell. There is something about the Christmas lights that draw you to seeing them and enjoying them. They pull you into the creativity and the fact that with a few simple lights you can bring joy and brightness into a persons life.
The Christmas story also brings joy and brightness into a persons life. It is one of the reasons why we celebrate Christmas each year. We once again hear the story of the birth of Jesus, and the angels visit to the shepherds, and the shepherds visit to the holy family. We celebrate with joy and gladness the story that started all of this. What is fascinating is that, that night it seemed that all roads led to Bethlehem.
There was a census that was decreed had to happen and so Mary and Joseph were forced to go back o Bethlehem to register themselves with the Roman government. Now it was prophesied that the savior, the messiah was supposed to be born in the city of David, in Bethlehem and the only reason that Jesus was born in Bethlehem was because of the census that was ordered. Which means that even though these Roman leaders had no idea about the messiah they were inadvertently helping God to fulfill the prophecy that Jesus was to be born in the City of David. Caesar and Quirinius helped to lead and pave the way for this to happen.
Next comes an angel of the Lord. Much like the beautiful Christmas lights that I just talked about this angel shone around it because of the glory of the Lord, our text says, and the angel announces to them that a child has been born in Bethlehem and that this child will be wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger. After the angels sing praises to God and the new baby the shepherds immediately go and see what had been told to them. So just like Mary and Joseph the shepherds make their way to Bethlehem to see this baby child and when they do they tell Mary and Joseph about the angels and what they had told them.
What amazes me the most is that all roads lead to Bethlehem. From the census, to Mary and Joseph and the shepherds. What else is amazing is that the only thing royal thing about this entire birth story is the decree from Caesar. Everything else is ordinary. Wait let me take that back. Nothing about this birth story is ordinary. There are angels and the birth of God’s one and only son into the world. There’s nothing ordinary about that, however, Mary and Joseph are ordinary, the shepherds are ordinary, the place that Jesus was born wasn’t ordinary, it was lowly and probably a little bit unsanitary. But then again the shepherds weren’t the cleanliest of people either. Shepherds also weren’t the most trustworthy people in the world and yet God chose to disclose Jesus birth only to Mary and Joseph and the shepherds.
Who knows why Jesus’ birth happened the way that it happened. God does and God had a very specific plan in mind when it happened. God had a reason for using the census and for using Mary and Joseph. God had a reason for using angels and telling shepherds. God had a reason for a manger and being born in a small town. God had a reason and purpose for all of it. God pointed all roads, all eyes and the whole world to a small town, to a small family, and to a small child. From humble beginnings all roads pointed to this baby child. Today those same roads point to that same person whom we now call Christ our Lord.
Today we are all here and for a reason all the roads in our lives have led us to be together in this place. We are here tonight to celebrate the birth of Christ. To celebrate the light of the world coming into our hearts and lives once again. I believe one of the reasons I love Christmas lights so much is that, for me, it represents the light that has come into our world. It also shows how even the littlest of lights can scatter any darkness that may be present in our world. Take a drive on Haulapai Mountain Road and look for the Preston’s glowing house and you can see that is physically true, but for Christ it is true as well. Light scatters darkness and this night we celebrate that light coming into the world.
As we light the candles tonight and sing realize how much a single light can scatter any darkness, as you drive around and see Christmas lights think about how they too scatter the darkness. And most importantly think about how the light inside each of you can scatter darkness as well. The light of Christ is born this day and that light lives in each and every one of us. Shine your light for the world to see. Scatter evil, scatter the dark places and show everyone that all roads lead to Christ Jesus our savior and Lord.
Unto us a son is given, unto us a Child is born. In the city of David a savior , who is the messiah, the Lord. This is the sign, this is where all our roads meet this is where all our hopes and fears lead us to see and believe in the child Jesus.
Amen.
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