The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light

Those who lived in a land of deep darkness –

On them light has shined


This is the first word of Scripture we heard tonight –

A word of hope and promise

To all people, really,

Because who doesn’t know some form of darkness in their life?


We face it in various forms

And at different times in our lives


And for those who are experiencing particular struggles

Or sadness


Or loss

At this time of year

When everybody seems to expect

That everybody’s going to be happy

All the time

Because, you know, it’s the most wonderful time of the year

And all that

Things can seem darker than dark


Sadness can be accentuated


One can feel more acutely than ever that sense that they’re alone in a crowd


And it’s to us, then, as much as to any other people

Living in any other time or place

That this promise comes


For a child is born for us

A Son is given to us

And this child is none other than Messiah Jesus

Son of God

Born of Mary in a Bethlehem stable


And his name is Wonderful Counselor

Mighty God

Everlasting Father

Prince of Peace…


Ponder the mystery of these names


Wonderful counselor


On the night of his betrayal

Jesus gathered with his closest friends

And promised to not leave them orphaned, saying:

“If I go I will send the Advocate to you”

The Spirit of God

The Spirit of Jesus

He is our Counselor


And it’s this Spirit of God who has come

And sealed us in Holy Baptism

As God’s own beloved children


It’s in this Spirit that we live and move and have our being


This One born to us is with us always, even to the end of the age


The Spirit of Jesus is with us

Teaching and guiding us

Giving us life

And empowering us to bear the fruit of love of God and neighbor…


Ponder the mystery of these names


Mighty God


It’s very easy to focus on the birth of the baby Jesus

In an overly sentimentalized way –

Oh, what a cute baby


What a sweet vision –

This perfect little baby who doesn’t even cry

According to that well-known carol “Away in the Manger”


But this baby is none other than almighty God

Whose glory we are to make known among the nations

Who made the heavens

In whose presence are majesty, magnificence, power and splendor

To whom honor and power are ascribed


This one is Lord and King and judge


This one spoke at creation, and all the universe leapt into being


And in the fullness of time

This One called Mighty God came as a human baby

Devoid of all power and prestige

Completely dependent for his very survival

On a young, unmarried, peasant, human, virgin, mother


Yes we must guard against over sentimentalizing this birth

Or else we lose the point of this whole thing


This child is born to die

In order that we might have life…


Ponder the mystery of these names


Everlasting Father


In the ideal sense of fatherhood

There should be no-one more devoted

More encouraging

More supportive

More protective

More life-giving

Than a father


And what could be better than this

Than to have the God of light and life

The God of love and compassion

The God of healing and forgiveness

The God of grace and mercy –

As your own Father Forever?


I am no perfect father to my child

Though I try to be the best father I know how to be


But in the end, I’m father to my child only for a time –

As all earthly fathers are here only for a time


As our children grow

They come to rely less and less on their earthly fathers

And that’s good –

It’s the way things are meant to be


But we must never lose our dependence on the One who is our Father Forever

Who grants to us all the gift of adoption

As God’s own daughters and sons

In the water and the word of God’s promise in Holy Baptism


The grace of God has appeared in the birth of this One who is our Father Forever Bringing salvation to all

Reconciling us to God through the blood of his cross

And opening the way to eternal life through his victory over death and the grave…


Ponder the mystery of these names


The Prince of Peace has come

Born of Mary

Wrapped in bands of cloth

Laid in a feeding trough

Announced to shepherds

And praised by the heavenly host who sang God’s glory

And announced the peace of God’s saving grace to all people


In his holy birth

In his living and dying

In his resurrection

This child born for us

This son given to us

Brings the ultimate gift of peace

In and through God’s saving love for all the world…


Mary treasured all that she heard

And she pondered it all in her heart


May we find blessing as we join with her this night

In pondering the mystery of the birth of the One who is our

Wonderful Counselor

Mighty God

Everlasting Father

Prince of Peace