Christingle Service – Sermon 249

Christingle Service

10.00am Morning service – SP

7th December 2014

Bible References :

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Prayer to start

May the words of my lips and the thoughts of our hearts be graciously received for the Glory and Honour of our Lord Jesus Christ

AMEN

 

INTRODUCTION

 

So, here we are – at our Christingle Service –

 

The Second week in Advent – Christmas fast approaching –

 

We have just had our reading for the day – from the beginning of Mark’s Gospel – and like our sketch – there’s something missing!

 

No Baby Jesus! –

 

Unlike Matthew and Luke – Mark makes no mention of the birth of Jesus –

 

No Angels – no shepherds – the wise men came later anyway –

 

No mention of the Christmas story – nothing about Jesus being in a stable – and spending his first hours – in a manger –

 

Instead Mark focuses on the message and the messenger

 

Point 1        The message and the messengers

 

In this second week of Advent we look especially at the part played by the prophets – the messengers who prophesized – the coming of Jesus in human form –

 

Mark mentions the prophet Isaiah and of course John the Baptizer – who was sent to prepare the way – for Jesus-

 

John – was sent by God – to be like a clanging alarm clock – to wake up the world – to tell them that Jesus was here – and He was about to change their lives forever –

 

John proclaimed – a baptism of repentance – for the forgiveness of sins – encouraging us – to confess our sins – and be washed clean –

 

He immersed people in water –

 

But Jesus – who is much more powerful –  immerses us in the Holy Spirit – so we can live a new life in God –

 

Mark – begins his gospel with the words, “The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” –

 

Jesus is good news-

 

He –was sent by God – to demonstrate God’s power and love and goodness – to us all –

 

to dissolves divisions –  break down barriers – embrace everyone – and bring forgiveness and salvation – to all who welcome Him-

and it was John’s job to get the people ready to meet Him –

 

Meeting Jesus – is the most important thing we can ever do – it can change our lives – transform our hearts – and make us into the people that God wants us to be  –

 

Point 2        Jesus is the real reason for the season

 

But [as we saw in our sketch] – if we are not careful – Jesus can go missing from our lives –

 

When we start to put other things first – and try to substitute them for the Christ – child

 

Money – power – pride – self – the idols of today’s world –

 

Even at Christmas-time we can start to think more of the tinsel and wrappings – than the real present – given to us –

 

Of course there is nothing wrong with lights – and crackers – and good food – and wine at Christmas time – children and adults delighting in the unwrapping of Christmas presents – and making of family memories

 

All these things make Christmas special –

 

As long as we realize that Jesus is the real reason for the season-

 

Through the power of the Holy Spirit Jesus can make us shine – far and wide – like a light across the world –

 

Point 3        Christingles and Jesus

 

Which brings us on to our Christingles –

 

Christingle stands for ‘Christ light’ – to remind us to be more like Jesus –

 

The Orange signifies – the world around us –

 

The world in Jesus’ time had many problems- wars – violence – ill treatment of the poor – greed of leaders – racial prejudice  – not too different to today’s world –  if we think about it –

 

but with Jesus – we can change all that – and we can start by treating each other – as we treat ourselves-

 

Jesus teaches us that – loving and caring for one another is far more important  – than any priority the world can offer –

 

The red ribbon which is placed around the middle of the orange – reminds us that when Jesus died  –  it was for the whole world – for all of us –

 

we use four sharp  pointed cocktail sticks – to secure the ribbon to remind us – that Jesus was pierced – before He died –

 

On the sticks we put fruit – and sweets – to represent the goodness of the earth – and the richness of the animals and birds – everything that God has provided for us –

 

They also remind us of the good gift of Jesus – in giving His life – so that we – can have everlasting life –

 

The candle represents – Jesus – the light of the world –

 

God willingly gave Jesus to help His creation – to help the world and the people who live in it – So that His love can shine through – offering joy – peace – love – hope – and life to all

 

Jesus came as a child and a man at the time of John the Baptist – to show us God’s love  – and he still comes to us – today – through the Holy Spirit offering a new light and a new life – for us all –

 

Our Christingles  -too –  speak of the work of the Children’s Society in spreading Jesus’ love and light to children who need our help and support –

 

and our gift in the Children’s Society envelop is  important –  in helping them carry out their work –

 

Like the light from a candle – It shows the love and goodness – we want to give – to children whose lives have been darkened – and need to be brought into the light –

 

Conclusions

 

John the Baptist – came to wake us up – to God’s love – to prepare the way – for Jesus  – and His message of light and salvation

 

He shouted it out from the wilderness – encouraging everyone to make a new start

 

Let’s make sure Jesus is not missing from our lives – and our celebrations this Christmas –

 

There can be no better message for us to take away from this service than that –

 

Closing prayer

 

In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit,

 

AMEN