December 24, 2017
preached by Don Willeman
*The audio for this sermon is not available.
Time of Reflection Quotations
“I am a historian, I am not a believer, but I must confess as a historian that this penniless preacher from Nazareth is irrevocably the very center of history. Jesus Christ is easily the most dominant figure in all history.”
~H.G. Wells (1866-1946), English writer
“The dignity of human nature, fashioned in the divine image, is such that God can take it for himself—and keep it.”
~Dr. Nigel Cameron, bioethicist and writer
“When the Christian faith is not only felt, but thought, it has practical results which may be inconvenient.”
~T. S. Eliot (1888-1965), British writer and social critic
“Love without truth is sentimentality; it supports and affirms us but keeps us in denial about our flaws. Truth without love is harshness; it gives us information but in such a way that we cannot really hear it. God’s saving love in Christ, however, is marked by both radical truthfulness about who we are and yet also radical, unconditional commitment to us. The merciful commitment strengthens us to see the truth about ourselves and repent. The conviction and repentance moves us to cling to and rest in God’s mercy and grace.”
~Tim Keller, American pastor and writer
“No work or love will flourish out of guilt, fear, or hollowness of heart…”
~Alan Watts (1915-1973), British philosopher and writer
“…the assumption that the human-divine encounter takes place primarily in the realm of ‘religious experience’… is challenged fundamentally by the heart of the Christian gospel. The earliest Christian…confession…[was] ‘Jesus is Lord’. And ‘Jesus is Lord’ was never merely a statement of personal devotion. It was an announcement of a decisive event of secular human history, that had universal, indeed cosmic implications….”
~Vinoth Ramachandra, Sri Lankan writer and human rights advocate
Luke 2:1-20 (ESV)
In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This was the first registration whenQuirinius was governor of Syria. 3 And all went to be registered, each to his own town. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed,who was with child. 6 And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
8 And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with
whom he is pleased!”
15 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. 17 And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.