"Let there be light!" Christmas Eve Sermon


“Let there be light!”

In the opening chapter of Genesis, God’s voice echoes. God’s voice pierces the darkness and transforms the chaos of the deep. Light shines forth.

We gather today amidst the darkest time of year. Just the other day, it was the shortest day of the year. There was more darkness than hours of light. But the darkness is not just an image. For some, the darkness is all too real and all too painful:

Loved ones battle drug or alcohol addiction.

Violence continues to disrupt our schools and cities.

The loss of a family member or close friend turns joy into sorrow.

Families are torn apart by divorce and mental illness.

Into all of these, God speaks, “Let there be light.” God brings a word of hope and reassurance. All around us there may be darkness and brokenness. Pain and suffering seem to be winning. Yet, God will have the final word.

That final word comes to us in a helpless, vulnerable baby. Martin Luther once wrote that he believed God came to us in the form of a baby because babies are not threatening. A baby attracts us like a magnet. Their utter dependence. Their huge eyes. Who can resist?

Babies draw us in- just ask the women during coffee hour! Or how about in the checkout line at Walmart? I bet you smile and coo, “hi, there!” Seeing a baby at Java Jive or around town makes us smile. Our day is brightened by their presence.

For centuries Christians have found light in the darkness. The celebration of Jesus’ birth in the deep darkness of winter is no coincidence! Our forbears saw the connection between God’s overcoming darkness in creation with God’s vanquishing sin and death in Christmas.

Jesus is God’s answer to our brokenness. Just as a baby signifies new life, so Jesus represents new life for you and me. Through the Babe of Bethlehem, you and I can now dare to hope that this is not the end. We have been restored to God through the Christ Child. New and unending life is now our hope.

In Junior High, I had a home economics teacher, Mrs. Dickey. Mrs. Dickey had a favorite saying, “don’t curse the darkness, duckie. Light a candle.” A few minutes from now, we will do just that. The lights will dim, casting us into semi-darkness.

One by one we will add the lights of our candles. Gradually, the light will grow, overpowering the darkness. May this be a powerful metaphor for us. You and I are not left alone in the deep darkness. God stands with us and for us (Romans 8:31). Then, now, and always, God speaks, “Let there be light!”