Isaiah 9:6 (Christmas Eve)

St. John, Galveston 12/24/2022

Rev. Alan Taylor


+ In Nomine Jesu +


Grace and peace to you, from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.


We’re not quite there yet, but there is a question that’s commonly asked this time of the year. I think you know what it is. “How was your Christmas?” As common as the question is, so is the litany of answers. Generally we keep it pretty simple and respond with something like, “it was good, or it was fine.” If we want to offer a little more, perhaps dare even to enter into conversation, we might sum up our Christmas by rattling off a list of gifts that we received. 

I suppose, in some ways, our assessment of “how Christmas was,” is a reflection of what we wanted it be, but perhaps rarely of what we desperately needed it to be. 

I’ve noticed that some of our favorite Christmas movies come close to touching on what we desperately need Christmas to be. Do you remember George Bailey of Bedford Falls? In the movie, It’s a Wonderful Life, he was about to jump off of a bridge to his death, but he was given an extraordinary opportunity to see what the world would have been like had he never been born. After that extraordinary experience, having been given a second chance, he finds joy in the simplest of life’s pleasures. 

And who can forget mean, old, Ebenezer Scrooge? One cold Christmas Eve, he is unkind to the people who work for him, then he refuses to give to charity, and then is rude to his nephew when he invites him to spend Christmas with him. When Scrooge gets home, he is visited by the ghost of his old business partner Jacob Marley – and then by three other ghosts, the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future. With the rather bleak picture shown to him by each of the ghosts, Scrooge begins to think about redemption, if there could possibly be a second chance for him. 

In the movie, Spirited, the new Hollywood remake of the classic Dickens novel, Scrooge asks the question that should rightfully terrify any man, woman, or child.

“Am I forever unredeemable?
Can I ever overcome
All the wrongs I'm running from?
Can my worst be left behind?
And do I deserve to find
There's a soul who could see any good in me?
Or will I only ever be

What we need out of Christmas is often much more than what we seem to want. Christmas is God’s answer to whether or not any one of us is unredeemable. He says, through the Prophet Isaiah, “For to US a child is born, to US a son is given.” Did you hear that? “For to US a child is born.” Jesus came into this world for EVERYONE, for every man, woman and child. Martin Luther, in reflecting on the universal nature of the Gospel, says, do you want to know if the Gospel of God’s forgiveness in Christ is for you? He says, then put your hand over your heart. If it is beating, the answer is YES. “For to US a child is born, to US a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”


The best assessment of “how Christmas was” is rooted in what it actually is. God takes on human flesh. He becomes one of us. And He does it to redeem us, that is, to buy us back, to buy you back from sin and death, to make your life meaningful and hopeful. Christmas is good because the God who took on your humanity, who became like you, is the same God who was pierced and died for your sins.


“Nails, spear shall pierce Him through

The cross be born for me, for you

Hail, hail, the word made flesh

The babe, the Son of Mary.”


In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.


The peace of God that passes all understanding keep yours hearts and minds in Christ Jesus unto life everlasting. Amen.


+ Soli Deo Gloria +