Sermon - Christmas Eve, December 24, 2021 - St. Martin's In the Desert

Dove in flight

Sermon – Christmas Eve, December 24, 2021

Nativity-The Birth of Jesus Christ
Year C
December 24, 2021

First Reading: Isaiah 62:6-12
Psalm 97
Titus: 3:4-7
Gospel: Luke 2: [1-7], 8-20


O God, you have caused this holy night to shine with the brightness of the true Light: Grant that we, who have known the mystery of Light on earth, may also enjoy him perfectly in heaven; where with you and the Holy Spirit he lives and reigns, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen

Good News of Great Joy

Gospel: Luke 2:1-7 (8-20)

Our Gospel has two parts. The birth of Jesus and the annunciation to the shepherds.

Joseph and Mary have traveled 90 miles to the city of Joseph’s ancestors: south along the flatlands of the Jordan River, then west over the hills surrounding Jerusalem, and on into the city of David called Bethlehem.

Joseph was a descendent from the house of David. He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child.  

While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

For hundreds and hundreds of years, the people have been waiting for this very birth. The promise from God’s old prophets. (Isaiah 7:14) “Behold,” he wrote, “a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel”. 

I never get tired of hearing about this miracle birth of the Messiah.

We are told over and over again, how the “Great I AM” Jesus has come to live among us.

A divine human and yet a fully human like you and I. 

This is how God intended it to be, a story that gets told for thousands of years, reminding us what a blessed birth it is, no matter… who tells the story about Jesus, God’s greatest gift to us!

I think of him as “divine” at Christmas, His baby face glowing with love, I smile, thinking how Jesus as a baby, like all babies look into his mother’s eyes, smiling down at him. 

My mind drifts to that little Holy Child, a child like you and I. He starts discovering things like his feet and playing with his toes, he is a baby, a divine baby, a Holy Baby.

As Jesus grew, he learned all that our Heavenly Father wanted Him to learn.

Isaiah wrote, “And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of Lord.” 

“The Jesus that cried with us, the Jesus that healed the crippled and made the blind see and the deaf to hear.” 

“The Jesus who prayed and taught his disciples… how to pray.”

“The Jesus who said “I am The Way, The Truth, and The Life! (John 14:6)” 

The baby born tonight! A baby wrapped in a white cloth, being held by Mary, as Joseph looks over them. 

And so, it is at this time, when I, again see him as divine Emmanuel “God is with us! 

The manifestation of God himself…as Jesus. 

He wasn’t born in a temple, dripping with gold, but in a wooden structure with a grass roof, a place where life stock was kept.

The town of Bethlehem was where everyone came for the censes and because of that, they had no place to stay and Mary about to give birth to our savior. 

Joseph and Mary had nothing to worry about, they knew that all this had been planned out for them and this was how it was supposed to be told.

The Annunciation to Shepherds and Their Visit.

A star above, oh yes, the shepherds living in the fields…and the angel of the Lord stood before them, and startled them, by saying, “Do not be afraid; for see…I am bringing you good news of great Joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord.  

The angels, God’s messengers are sent to the shepherds, that the newborn Jesus has been born.

It tells us that God sent his messengers to those who were the recipients of his promise—not kings, theologians, or even relatives, but those whom a grown-up Jesus would love to gather under his wings: 

What I feel today and every year when I hear the Christmas story. That God meant it to be this way, and that the birth of Jesus Christ was a…wonderful gift to us, we are given hope, joy, love and peace, every year a re-do. 

Jesus will always bring good news and great joy to all the people. Jesus would “preach good tidings unto the meek” and would “bind up the brokenhearted,” and “proclaim liberty to the captives.” Isa 61:1

Isaiah, knew the wonderful things the Savior would do for us. The good tidings of the gospel teach us of His Atonement, which makes it possible for us to repent when we make mistakes. He suffered for each one of us. “Surely,” Isaiah wrote, “he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows.


As we celebrate Christmas this holiday, lets focus on the future and the gift given to us year after year.

Yes, as we look in the rear-view mirror of 2021, we pray for cures and healing of our nation and world, but we never forget the sacrifice of all the millions who lost their lives to the viruses, violence, natural disasters and those who still suffer. 

We also see all the good that happen this year and all the people and organizations that step up to help those in need. All the donations of gifts, food and kindness. This is what we are to be thankful for.

Good News:

Knowing we are never alone is a message of comfort and joy. When the angel announced the birth of Jesus to the shepherds, he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people.” 

May the God of Hope fill you with Joy and Peace as you trust in him so that you may overflow with hope by the power of The Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13)  


The Reverend Lola Culbreath