1st Sunday of Christmas – Sermon 154

13th February 2011 Off By Derek Buckthorpe

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



So – here we are – still in the season to be jolly – but not quite into the New Year celebrations

For weeks – we’ve been getting ready for Christmas – bombarded with Christmas music, Christmas gifts – Christmas decorations –
busy – planning – buying – partying – and its not all consumer driven –

We’ve celebrated Advent – lit the candles in expectation of Christ’s birth – sung anthems and carols – decorated our Christmas Tree –

Then – in a flash – Christmas has come and gone – but we are not – quite ready for it to be over yet –

the baby is here – Jesus has been born again – but its still Christmas – so what should we be doing now – after the big day has gone?

Point 1    Hope is heralded!

Well – maybe our OT reading from Isaiah can gives us a clue –

it contains the last part of Isaiah’s second servant song – and tells us what – the Lord says will happen after the arrival of His promised redeemer – the Holy One of Israel –

Kings will rise when they see you – princes will do homage – (here we have the foretelling of the coming of the Kings – which we celebrate in Epiphany

He will be a light for the people – restoring the land – and alloting once more its desolate holdings

He – will set people free – those in darkness will come into the open – they will neither hunger nor thirst –

God’s promised deliverer – will bring security – enjoyment – liberation – transformation – redeem and save

in other words – He will be a new Joshua – and Moses – rolled into one – it will be like a second Exodus – pilgrims will come from all over the world to be guided by Him – as a shepherd guides His sheep – and there will be – shouts of joy and celebration –

Isaiah’s message – tells us that – Jesus – is not just a child in a manger – but someone who will change lives – completely – and provide us with a new beginning –

Not just a symbol of restoration and hope – but sent by God – to provide a new covenant blessing – given through a personal relationship with Him

Point 2   

And as Paul reminds us – in our NT reading – the promises He brings can only follow from our own acceptance of His Glory and of Him – as God’s Son –

In his letter to the Philippians – Paul – speaks about the mind and spirit of the true Christian –
He appeals for a life of love and harmony – in unity and service – with Jesus –

That we should look to the words and actions of Jesus as a basis – for the work and witness of the church –

and like Jesus – we should always point to the Father and bring Glory to Him –

This reading from Philippians also contains one of the greatest and most moving passages in the NT –

Believed to be taken from an ancient hymn of the time – it describes a complete picture of Jesus’ humility, obedience and self-renunciation – in action –

‘He was in the form of God – yet laid no claim for equality to God –

He made Himself nothing – assuming the form of a slave

Bearing human likeness – sharing the human lot – He humbled Himself and was obedient – even to death – death on a cross’

Jesus came to bring hope and a new beginning – He came to die – on the cross – so that our sins can be forgiven – so we can start again – in our relationship with God – and with those around us –

Jesus gave everything for us so that we could receive everything from God –

Point 3

So what’s next?

Well -with so much focus on presents – at Christmas time – maybe its helpful to think about a different kind of presence – God’s presence – -God’s closeness to us –

When all the fanfare has died down – our hope and faith is still to be found – in God’s ever continuing presence with us – in Jesus –

God is with us – whether there is a celebration – or not – whether we recognise God’s presence or not – He is faithful and steadfast – and suffers and struggles with and for us –

If you’ve ever played card games – at Christmas – like – bridge – or whist – or solo – then you will know that there is usually one rule to be followed – when playing them – and that is to follow suit-

If a heart is laid – you must lay a heart – when you follow – if its a spade – then a spade – the only exception is if there are no cards with that suit left in your hand – when Jesus lays His heart out for us – we are called to follow suit –

we are called to show the same love – dedication and compassion that He does –

we may struggle – indeed without His help – we’ll find it impossible – but its something we should always strive to do – for in our case its not just a game – that’s at stake – but the rest of our lives-


In the second half of that ancient Hymn – in our NT reading – we perhaps see the words that God would want us to follow – and keep following throughout our Christmas – and beyond –

“Therefore God raised Him to the heights and bestowed upon Him the name above all names – that at the name of Jesus – every knee shall bow – and every tongue acclaim – “Jesus Christ is Lord”

Lets keep Jesus -Lord at our Christmas time – and throughout all the new years to come


In the name of the Father, Son & Holy Spirit