I'll Be Home For Christmas

Sermon Text:  Luke 2:8-20

Thank you Tony. (Tony played the song before I preached.)  Through the years that song has meant different things to me at this time of year … depending upon the circumstances.

            One such time I will never forget … occurred when we lived in Colorado.  It was a Christmas present for my parents.  A couple of weeks before Christmas, Karen, Kerry, Jeremy (1 year old at the time) and I recorded a few Christmas songs on a cassette tape (accompanied by my guitar) and then sent it to my brother, Sam, with very detailed instructions.  Our family Tradition was to gather in the afternoon on Christmas Day at Mom and Dad’s home for a gift exchange and then dinner.  Well, Sam was to have them open our present when they all sat down to eat.  As Mom and Dad listened to the songs, along with the rest of the family, they didn’t really understand the full significance.  They thought it was nice, but ...

            However, the last song we recorded was I’ll be Home for Christmas.  Now understand, we had lived in California prior to Colorado and we hadn’t been home for Christmas in 7 years.  As the song ended, we all said, “Merry Christmas!  We will be home for Christmas.”  An hour later, after our flight from Denver, renting a car and driving to their place from Pittsburgh … we were all together again in their home!...Read full sermon here (PDF)

Holy Ground...You Are To Be Love

Sermon Text:  Matthew 1:18-25

In a world filled with conflict, where hate often abounds … you ARE TO BE LOVE.  How?  In the birth of a Babe.  Whether you realize it or not, no matter where you are or who you are with … you are standing on Holy Ground.  Even in the most unlikely of places … God is there through His Son … and through each of us!

            I’ve been preaching it to you for almost 13 years.  Have you got it?  What is the most important thing we can do in our lives?  What has God called each of us to do and never veer from the choice?  What is the one word that should typify how others see us and experience us?  What is that word?  LOVE!

            I don’t believe there is any other time or season of the year that reinforces this mandate more than Christmas.

            And so today … I want to ask you a couple of questions to see if you agree with me that Christmas is that time of year where love does indeed manifest itself like no other.

            THE FIRST QUESTION IS THIS: Does Christmas open your heart?

            Is Christmas a sentimental journey, a trip down memory lane that brings tears to your eyes?  A favorite Christmas carol includes the words: “The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.”  Do you know which one it is?  You should … we just sang it at the beginning of our service as our Hymn of Advent Love: O Little Town of Bethlehem.

            “The hopes and fears of all the years…”  Those are exactly the kinds of feelings we spend most of the year avoiding!  The last thing we want to think about [most of the time] is that vertical dimension of our soul ... the deep places in our lives ... our self-consciousness about the reality of “the hopes and fears of all the years.”  We don’t want to think about that, because we’re afraid that if we get in touch with our hopes and dreams for the future … we will be disappointed.

            And we sure don’t want to be in touch with our fears because they can be so dad gum scary.  And so we spend our life avoiding “the hopes and fears of all the years.”  It takes courage to really take a trip down memory lane ... a sentimental journey ... to be in touch with who we really are in all our feelings...Read full sermon here (PDF)