Categories
Pastor's Blog

Christmas Revealed: The Light Has Dawned

Christmas Revealed
The Light Has Dawned
Isaiah 9:2, John 1:9-13
December 2, 2018

Meditations for Christmas
O Come, O Come Emmanuel – 175

The church is adorned with many decorations that are items and shapes that help us focus on God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. These are not items that we worship but they remind us of who God is and why He sent Jesus to live among us. Each shape, image and the many colors point to Jesus and the significance of His birth. Meditate on what scripture says about Jesus.

Wreaths and Garland – Wreaths and Evergreen garland speak to the truth that God is, was and will always be.
When Moses met God in the third chapter of Exodus, he asked God who he should say has sent him to speak to
Pharaoh; God responded with, “I Am who I Am. When we hear wreath we always think a circular shape.
The circle has no end or beginning and green color of the evergreens used remind us that there is no beginning of
and there will be no end to God and His great Love and power.

Revelation 1:8 – “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”
Chrismon tree – The Christmas tree in the foyer has changed over time and has become a Chrismon Tree.
The first Chrismon Tree was developed by Frances Kipps Spencer a member at the Ascension Lutheran Church in
Danville, Virginia. She first thought of decorating the tree for a birthday celebration. A birthday cake is usually
decorated with the birthday boy or girls name. That led her and the members of the church to first use the names
of Jesus on the tree. They used a lot of Greek letters that were from names which referred to Jesus. The Greek Chi
and rho, which look like a capital X and P, are the first two letters of Christ. The iota and chi, which look like a capital I and X, are the first letter of Jesus and Christ. Our Chrismon tree has numerous other shapes related to
Jesus since most people aren’t well versed in Greek.
All of the Chrismon ornaments are white which point to the holiness of Jesus. Our pathway uses many of the
same symbols as on the Chrismon tree. A simple explanation of the ornaments, images on the tree and the
pathway gives a detailed message of God’s love for us and how Jesus is the only way to eternal life and a
personal relationship with God.

Giving – Vandover loves to demonstrate our love for and thankfulness to God through giving. The main focus of Christmas is not about giving. It is about a baby born to set us free from sin and make a personal relationship with God possible. Because believers are transformed the risen Savior we want to help others by blessing them in the name of Jesus.
• We give to Angel Tree, a ministry to families of incarcerated parents.
• We give to two families through Feed My People’s Adopt-A-Family
• We give to the Lottie Moon Christmas to provide for the needs of Southern Baptist missionaries. Our
church goal is $500.
• We and an energetic group from Cape Albeon sent 52 Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes and $333 to
help with shipping.
Praise God for faithful and generous givers.
O Come All Ye Faithful – 199
Angels and the Nativity – The angels, who are God’s messengers, announced to Joseph and to Mary the Long
awaited Savior would soon be born. The angels also announce Jesus’ birth when He arrived in the stable. There
are many nativity displays throughout the church. The center of all of them is the baby Jesus, who we now call
Savior.
Poinsettia – The poinsettia plants displayed on the platform, with their star shaped leaves remind us of the
star that led the Wise Men on a long Journey to meet Jesus, the new king. They did not know that He was the
King of kings that would die to set the citizens of earth free. The red color of the poinsettia leaves remind us that
Jesus died for the sins of everyone and became Savior of the World.
Go Tell it on the Mountain – 182
Offering.
Advent Wreath – The advent wreath which is in the shape of a circle it is composed of 3 pink candles, reminding us of Jesus our humble and compassionate servant. One purple candle reminding us that Jesus is the King of kings and Lord of lords. The one white candle points to Jesus who is the sinless sacrificial lamb of God who dwelled among us.
Isaiah 9:2 –
The people who walk in darkness will see a great light; Those who live in a dark land,
the light will shine on them.

People waited a long time for this promise to be fulfilled and then one night the sky lit up with the announcement that the light had arrived. We light the first candle of advent because the time had
come for God to reveal the only help and hope for the human race. The True Light of the World.
Candles and Lights – The lights and candles are so prominent around the church. Jesus is the light of the
world and He called believers the light of the world too. Jesus revealed God to us and opened our eyes to our sin
and our Savior. As His lights in the world let’s us send the light.
Send the Light – 364

The Light Has Dawned – Isaiah 9:2, John 1:9-13
Having enough light to see is critical when trying to read, build or to navigate new territory. I walk through my house at night and early in the morning without turning on lights. When things are out of place I stub my toe. Reading in a dimly lit area is about impossible unless the book is a very large print. Reading without being able to
comfortably see is no fun at all. Neither is running into a wall when you can’t see that you missed the door.
That was the situation that mankind was in. We were wondering around in darkness trying to make a
connection with God. Desiring to know the god we didn’t know. Down through the ages people had a sense that
there was something bigger than themselves but couldn’t get a clear picture.
That led to worship of the sun, moon and stars. To worship the changing seasons. To worship animals. To
even carve and shape stones and wood to create a visual to worship.
Timothy Keller in his book, Hidden Christmas – The surprising truth behind the birth of Christ says that most
of these primitive religious practices and others that have gotten more notoriety seem to make suggestions on how to live. It amounts to us figuring out how we should live and to figure out what to do about always failing to do what we intend.
When God began to make Himself known to man He didn’t just tell us the best way to do things, He dealt with
our sin how He would walk with us. We did not need more light we needed the Light of the
World. Have you come to a time in your life that you realized you were simply in the dark? The realization that
our sin has kept us in the dark about who God really is? We did not need more advice to find understanding. We
tried, we read books, talked to friends but it did not make us any different.
Isaiah describes it this way –
The people walking in darkness have seen a great light;
a light has dawned on those living in the land of darkness.
Isaiah 9:2
All of us through time have been a people walking in darkness. We were in it so we didn’t notice it for a while
but our quest to meet up with a higher being or to understand the meaning of life made us realize that we
were not meant for darkness. A fish doesn’t notice wet, only the lack of wet. Because we try to improve and be
better we realize that there is something more beyond us. We didn’t need greater light we needed the Light of the
World. It is into our greatest need that Jesus entered this world. The people who walked in darkness didn’t create the great light that they saw. No it dawned on them. In was sprung on them. God brought that Light to them.
Though this passage speaks to events that happened in Isaiah’s lifetime it is obvious that John saw this great light
the dawn on earth to be Jesus the Christ.

There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man. 10 He was in the world, and the
world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. 11 He came to His own, and those who
were His own did not receive Him. 12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become
children of God, even to those who believe in His name, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of
the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. John 1:9-13

This light was not something that man conjured up. We did not discover it. No!!! God sent this Light to us. John tells us that Jesus is the True Light. John the Baptist was not the Light; he just pointed people to the Light. The Light that John pointed to was going to enlighten every man. We would be able to see God more clearly, see ourselves more clearly and to know that this Light was going to be the only way for us to be made new. No more idols. No more worshiping animals. No more sacrifices of animals or virgins. No more carved images. This Light that dawned on mankind was the one who created all of the people and the materials that were carved. The Light made it possible for people to know God personally because God came to earth to personally be with us and to be one of us. And John does not stop there. He talks about receiving, believing and becoming and brought about by the power of God and not the intellect of man. To as many as received Him. Received the Light, Jesus the Christ. We received His sacrificial death for our sin. We received His forgiveness for our sin. And We received eternal life. Because we received all of this from Jesus we have become His children. No longer just following the example of Jesus. No longer just following the teachings of Jesus. In both of these there is no equal. But we have Jesus living in us which makes us the true children of God. Proof that God keeps His promises. There is no idol that can even think about doing this. Not just because they have no brain but because they are not gods.
Jesus is the one and only eternal God come to earth. He came to us and revealed Himself to us in a more powerful that huge light being turned on.
The key to becoming is believing. Believing that Jesus is the only Savior, that He is the only way to God. It means placing all our hopes of eternal life on Him. Putting our complete trust that He will forgive our sin. He then comes to live inside of us to make us new.

Challenge: Don’t let this Christmas pass without believing and receiving Jesus as your Savior. Why? Because a great Light will dawn in your life and your real life will begin. If you do this Christmas will never be the same for you. You will remember that it was at Christmas that your received the Light of the World and you have let your light shine for Jesus every day since.