A Bridge to Hope and Peace

Lord, on this holy night, help us to reach beyond the secularity of this season to touch the holy. Remind us again of your gift to us, the birth of your son Jesus Christ. Amen.

Well finally! After weeks of preparation, all the shopping, the gift buying, the crowds, the Christmas music, all the advertising, the parties, and even the threat of snow earlier this week, finally, we get to hear the real Christmas story again.

It's amazing to me how we never seem to get tired of hearing about the little boy born in a stable so long ago. The story seems to come alive every year at this time. And it's a story we need to hear year after year, to remind us of what this season is truly all about.

Christmas Eve is one of the most looked forward to days of the year for Christians.

  • It's the night many Christian's gather at churches around the world, as we have here tonight, to remember and celebrate the birth of Jesus.
  • It's the night we give thanks to God,
  • For unto us a child is born … in the city of David, a savior, which is Christ the Lord" (Luke 2:11, KJV)
  • It's the night God reminds us just how special we are to him.

The miracle we celebrate tonight is not only the birth of a baby; it's the creation of a bridge, a bridge to hope, a bridge to everlasting peace. That bridge is Jesus Christ. " Jesus is the one and only gift that can fill a need, a need no other gift we receive tomorrow can fill.

  • Jesus is the only gift that truly keeps on giving, long after the Energizer™ bunny has worn down, long after the batteries have
  • Jesus is the only gift that offers real hope, real peace, and real purpose to our lives.
  • Jesus is the only gift that is given freely to all who believe.

This Christmas season, more so then I can ever remember happening in prior years, some have been working hard to remove Christ from Christmas.

  • Some want to change Christmas tree to holiday tree.
  • Some companies tell their employees to be "politically correct" and say "happy holidays" or "seasons greetings" rather than "Merry Christmas."
  • Some want us to listen to Holiday carols rather than Christmas carols.
  • And there are those who simply believe there is no God, so why bother with Christ and the Christmas season altogether.

But if we remove Christ from Christmas:

  • We also remove hope, joy, peace, and love from Christmas as well.
  • If we remove Christ from Christmas we end up with an empty holiday, focused on the lust of wanting, and the greed of getting.
  • If we remove Christ from Christmas we remove the experience of God's grace that comes to us during this time of year. Yes, it seems as though there are some who want to do everything this season except touch the holy.

Last Saturday evening I arrived early for our Saturday evening worship service. I sat in the font pew looking at the stable that had been erected for our Sunday school skit, which told the story of Jesus birth as experienced by the animals.

As I sat there I was struck by the humble setting and what it must have been like for Mary and Joseph on that evening long ago, the evening that lies at the very heart of the Christmas season. An insignificant village, an obscure young couple, a rustic stable, shepherds and animals, and a baby in a manger. I sat there in awe that God in his infinite wisdom would select a place like a stable to demonstrate his faithfulness and grace to all humanity.

Many years ago God came to us, not just to Mary and Joseph, but to us, all of us, you and me. God sent his Son Jesus to be born among us, to serve as a bridge to God himself, to be the bridge to hope and everlasting peace.

No matter where you look today, peace seems to be in short supply. Each day the headlines seem to focus on death and destruction, or they tell of some new political crisis that threatens to thrust the whole world into a downward spiral. Our courts and even some of our homes overflow with people trapped in difficulties, conflict, and abuse. There are millions of people are seeking and searching for something, anything, that will give them peace and a sense of hope.

It's because of these circumstances we need nights like tonight to remind us of God's faithfulness, grace, and love for us. We need to be reminded that by God's grace we have been given the means of receiving true hope and peace, Jesus Christ.

We need to hear the encouraging words of the Christmas angels spoken so many centuries ago, to a small group of Jewish Shepherds: "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men." (Luke 2:14)

But are these words really true? Can God's peace penetrate the chaos of this world and become a reality in our lives? Or was the promise of the angels just a hollow, empty hope, unrealistic for life as it really is?

Well the truth is, peace is possible, possible not because humanity has discovered some new plan or formula for instant peace, but because God's Son has come into the world. The Bible says, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16)

Peace, whether in an individual's heart, or for a community in transition, or for a nation at war, is not automatic. Peace comes through daily prayer, constant surrender, unbridled worship, and serving Christ.

Peace is possible because Jesus, who entered the world on that first Christmas, wants to enter our lives today. "And his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, The everlasting father, the Prince of Peace." (Isaiah 9:6)

The miracle of Christmas is that we can be at peace with and in God! We can enter into a personal relationship with God and be restored and renewed by God's grace. This is the hope born tonight; this is the hope we carry in our hearts. God's peace is real, and it becomes a reality whenever men and women turn to Christ and follow Him as Lord. And we hope for the day when the Messiah who has come humbly at Christmas, will come again in glory to establish His kingdom once and for all.

This little baby, whose birth we celebrate tonight, is the light in our darkness, the joy in our sorrow, the hope in our hopelessness, and the lasting peace we so desperately long for.

Tonight we celebrate Christ's birth, with the promise of a life filled with joy, peace, and love. A life that can be experienced now, a life full of exciting possibilities, a life that is eternal. This special gift, Jesus Christ, is ours to receive, ours to embrace, and ours to share with others.

So on this holy night, surrender yourselves, receive this special gift, and claim Jesus as Lord. Allow Jesus to be your bridge to God, your bridge to a truly better life, your bridge to a better today and tomorrow, your bridge to hope, and your bridge to everlasting peace.


Read other messages by Pastor Wade