Sermon - December 24, 2023 - St. Martin's In the Desert

Christian Bible

Sermon – December 24, 2023

Nativity-The Birth of Jesus Christ
Year B
December 24, 2023

First Reading: 2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16
Canticle 3
Second Reading: 16:25-27
Gospel: Luke 2: 1-14, (15-20)


Fourth Sunday in Advent

Purify our conscience, Almighty God, by your daily visitation, that your Son Jesus Christ, at his coming, may find in us a mansion prepared for himself; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen


The Nativity of our Lord

O God, you make us glad by the yearly festival of the birth of your only Son Jesus Christ: Grant that we, who joyfully receive him as our Redeemer, may with sure confidence behold him when he comes to be our Judge; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen

Good News of Great Joy

Gospel: Luke 2:1-14 (15-20)

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 Bethlehem. 

Joseph was a descendent from the house of David, he and Mary were engaged and they went to register Mary.

While they were there, Mary goes into labor and she gave birth to her firstborn son, they wrapped him in bands of cloth and laid him in a manger.

Mary, Obedient and Faithful

She is a model of discipleship, she agreed to God’s plan… for her virgin birth of the Savior of the world; she was a person of great prayer and a person of great faith and she said yes! to the angel, even when she really had no clear idea of what it meant when she excepted this call. 

Mary now, is placing her own desires aside, and agreed to be the Mother of the divine Son.

This was Mary’s great contribution and model for discipleship: to be… not only Jesus’ mother, but his follower as well, and she, who would carry forward his mission!

Mary’s life therefore, becomes a model for all Christians: not only for women, but for men who desire to be faithful to God’s call.

She was an excellent example for single, married, and widowed women today, for people who are financially poor and spiritual poor, and for those who want to follow God.

Tonight is the night that Mary gave birth to Jesus, the one who said, I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness. 

(John 8:12)

He was not born in a temple, but in a wooden structure with a grass roof and surrounded by animals.

Though, we live so long after the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem, today/tonight we find ourselves with Mary and Joseph at the manger.

Close your eyes and imagine the smells, feel the cool air, hear the animals, see their warm breath in the air and see the faces of Joseph and Mary, as they look upon this Holy Child.

This amazing little face, the Holy face, the face of God in the flesh. 

We close our eyes again and this time, we feel the joy and the hope that the people then and now feel.

In the same region, the shepherds living in the fields, watching over their flock had a visit from the angel of the Lord, “the glory of the Lord shone all around them.” They were terrified, but the angel, comforts them, do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy.

The angel, God’s messenger, is sent to the shepherds to give them the message, that the newborn Jesus has been born, who is the “Messiah,” the Lord.

Scripture, 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 want to help. The kinds of people that Jesus healed, the poor and the downtrodden. 

He knew He would be demonstrating and teaching compassion. 

But he also peached the good news of God’s love and salvation.”

The Good News and the Great Joy, Then, Today and forever to Come.

On this night the birth of Jesus Christ will be celebrant all over the world. This celebration will be done in various ways and in many languages, by people of all races. We need Jesus as much today as they needed Him. 

In St. Paul’s letter to the (Galatians 4:4-5) 

“But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.”

The key to this scripture is “The fullness of time,” not in the past, but in the present and future, for all of us, it was during their time and…. is ongoing.

Christ came into this world much like what we have today. Life was hard, disease was abundant, nations at war with each other and widows and orphans left behind.

We are all looking for peace, we, and the world longs for and looks for the peace… the angles sang about on that first Christmas morning.

You say, “Where is His peace?” The peace that Christ brings abides in you and I, and all who have trusted in Christ.  

The news anchor Robin Roberts was diagnosed with cancer, now years ago, and she would tell the story how she would struggle with the treatment and the suffering she endured.  Her mother would tell her, “Robin, everyone has something!” this was so Robin would stop feeling sorry for herself.

Jesus has been here already, He was already here on earth, He taught and healed and lifted people up. He brought light into a very dark world.

Nothing has changed a lot, as Robin’s mother said, everyone has something! 

I say, there will always be something going on, but every year we know that Jesus, in our hearts 

and minds will be here again, he will transform us and help to bring the darkness into light, the sadness back to joy, 

happiness will be here again and we will always know that Jesus, no matter how difficult things 

get, this night, God brought into the world the One who is “the light of the world.”

We know that Jesus will always bring good news and great joy to all the people. It is all about His life, His death and His resurrection that will bring salvation to the world. 

As we celebrate Christmas this holiday, lets focus on the future and the gift given to us year after year, the good news of Jesus Christ, the Anointed, the Messiah, who brought the good news of eternal life, divine forgiveness, and the true fulfillment.

Yes, as we look in the rear-view mirror of 2023, we pray for peace among all nations and healing of our nation and world, but we never forget the sacrifice of all the millions who lost their lives to the wars 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.

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