T’was the Night Before Christmas A Candlelight Homily for December 24, 2021
Veterans Memorial Chapel
By Ch Jim Odell
This is a synopsis, or quick review, of the homily of the Christmas Eve Candlelight service, December 24, 2021. I am only hitting the highlights of the message, not reproducing the entire sermon.
The Night Before Christmas
By Jim & Nancy Odell
T’was the night before Christmas, and all thru the earth,
Not a creature could see thru the dark gloom, no light, and no mirth.
The hopes of the faithful hung fast in their Scriptures,
While the rest of the world dreamed of power, armies, & tax figures.
When suddenly, out in the East there arose a great shining light, That shined on a Bethlehem stable that night.
Angels announced to shepherds to come, see and delight,
A star brought wise men from afar to adore that light.
A Child was born of Mary, a Son given from above,
Salvation has come and a light shone into the world in love.
“Peace on earth, goodwill to men,”
The message came from heavens above, to all men.
My apologies to all true literature lovers, for our poem. But I believe it is fitting both for this evenings Scripture reading and for the world we live in. Isaiah lived in Judah at a time when the “powers that be,” both in the palace and the temple, were choosing to follow their own way, and not the way of the written Word or the voices of God’s true prophets.
In Chapter 8, Isaiah prophesized doom for the far North of Israel. Regions we know today as the Lake Galilee region and the Beca valley of Lebanon. Damascus had only recently taken the Beca valley from Israel. Now the Assyrian Empire was about to swallow up all these lands to Lake Galilee. It was a time of doom. Doom brought about by the disobedience of God’s people in not following His ways. I personally see a striking comparison to our world today. However, in the midst of the doom, Isaiah prophesizes the coming of a “great light” from God to the areas of Galilee, and Zebulun & Naphtali (Beca valley). In this very region Christ would carry on most of His earthly ministry.
This hope and light came in the person of “a child born, a son given” (9:6). This is the Messiah. The coming King who would rule the entire earth forever. We celebrate tonight that first appearance of Christ as the babe in the manger. He came this time as a baby, to grow up and die for our sins.
And we also look forward in faith to His coming again to rule over the world as “wonderful counselor, Mighty God, Father of eternity, Prince of Peace.
Christmas is not just a time to look back and see a babe in the manger. But it is the chance to see how that babe grew to be the Christ of the cross, who died for all our sins. Belief in Him gives the believer a part in that next coming phase of His life, the coming Kingdom of Peace and Light.
God bless each of you as we anticipate that coming world.
CH Jim Odell