A Christmas Wish For You

December 24, 2009

The Rev. Dr. Anthony J. Godlefski, Pastor

Montgomery United Methodist Church

 

Luke 2: 8-14

8And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

9And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

10And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

11For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

12And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

14Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

 

 

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, Good Evening. Merry Christmas!

 

I have a Christmas wish for you. It is a wish that was first given by the angels on that very first Christmas night. I would like to repeat it this night and offer it to you especially. This is my Christmas wish for you.

 

When Jesus was born, we are told by St. Luke that there was a very special apparition in the sky. St. Luke tells us that there were angels in the sky, heavenly beings who appeared to shepherds watching their flocks on a hillside. Heaven was so full of joy, so full of exuberance that Christ had come to earth that the angels themselves had to sing. They sang to the shepherds, Unto you this day is born in the city of David, a saviour, which is Christ the Lord.  And this shall be a sign onto you. You will find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes and laying in a manger. And the bible says this: Suddenly there was with that angel, many, many angels.  A multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, Glory be to God on high, and on earth, peace, good will to all men. Thatís the King James way of saying everyone, isnít it?  Good will to every person on earth. Peace and good will to everyone.

 

Let me take this time to offer you this Christmas wish. My wish for you - is peace. Deep, abiding, unexplainable, abundant peace. Peace with God! Peace with other people. And peace within yourself. Do you need peace this night? Is it something that has evaded you lately? My prayer for you is simply this: deep peace.  

 

Have you seen those commercials on television, where it is a soft setting of the camera, and you see a little baby, sleeping? One after the other, little babies sleeping.  And a woman is singing, Silent night, Holy night, sleep in heavenly peace. That is heavenly peace, perfectly pictured on the faces of those babies. Have you watched a baby sleep? Have you watched your own baby or a child you care about deeply, sleep?  Their face is like the face of an angel, so restful and so calm. Sometimes they will stretch out and almost look like an angel in flight, wonít they? Deep peace is what you are seeing. It is my prayer for you.

 

You donít have to be asleep to experience deep peace.  

 

Some of you may have come here tonight from lives that are perhaps less than peaceful. Maybe you have gone through something this week that has really rattled you, maybe there is something going on in your life that is really a strain. My prayer for you, this is my Christmas wish, is that you may have deep peace. 

 

The Bible says these words: May you have the peace that passes understanding. What does that mean? It means the peace that can not be explained in worldly terms. It means the peace that doesnít make any logical sense. It is the peace that happens in the midst of all the roar of chaos. My friends, that is my wish and my prayer for you. No matter what the storms may be on the outside, no matter what you've been facing up until now, this is the time when peace can begin.

 

Let it be so starting right now. Let there be a star not just in the sky, but let there be a star in your heart that glows. May it unexplainably give you a sense of deep and abiding peacefulness, so that you can face everything that you need to face in the world, with calmness and the security of knowing that you are a personal friend of Jesus Christ. Just because of that, you can have deep peace within you. 

 

Oh my friend, that is my prayer for you tonight. Peace on earth, good will toward everyone. From the poet, Linda Austin (©2001 Linda J. Austin) -

When all about you is chaos, clouded with concern, remember the ones who love you, and look within for the deep peace that will bring forth healing gifts for you.  Deep peace calls from the hills to you; deep peace runs in the waves to you as earth and sky pour their healing gifts on you.

 

In closing tonight, I would like to read a beautiful ancient text called the Gaelic Blessing.

Deep peace of the running wave to you,

Deep peace of the flowing air to you,

Deep peace of the quiet earth to you,

Deep peace of the shining stars to you,

Deep peace of this gentle night to you.

Moon and stars pour their healing light on you.

Deep peace of Christ, the light of the world, to you.  

 

May deep peace be yours, friend.  It is my Christmas wish for you.

 

God loves you; I do too. Merry Christmas!     

© 2009 Anthony J. Godlefski