Lamp representing the light of God Newton Highlands Congregational Church
  Home Calendar Visiting NHCC Contacting NHCC Picture gallery
  Worship information Education Music Staff information Small group ministries

Based on the Scripture reading:
Luke 2: 1-8

2005 December 24
Christmas Eve (early worship service)
Rev. Kenneth F. Baily, Senior Pastor

Finding Jesus

This is a special Christmas for me because, as some of you know, six weeks ago my wife and I had our own brand new baby, and he's a real gift. He was even in the pageant this year, playing a baby.

Unlike lots of people these days, my wife and I didn't know if we were going to have a boy or a girl beforehand, so we couldn't choose a name. We had to have both boys' and girls' names in mind to be ready. And one of the things that we did was read the Bible to look at names, because there are a lot of good ones there. In the Bible the names all mean something special, and they're all attached to someone special, which is nice.

The truth is that some parts of the Bible have a surplus of names. For example we just read a scripture about Christmas, and in seven verses we heard ten names, which is pretty amazing. Listen to them: Augustus, Quirinius, Syria, Joseph, Nazareth, Galilee, Judea, David, Bethlehem, and Mary. It's a great list. But I noticed something about this list, too. I think that there is one name missing from this story. Do you know what name that is? (Jesus)

Isn't that funny? This is the story about Jesus' birth, and his name is never mentioned. Back to topI wonder why that is?

Let me tell you something interesting about His name: something you might not know. In the days when He was born it was the custom for entire families and very, very often for entire communities to name each baby. People chose a name from their family or their area, the way they still do in some parts of the world today. But the Bible family didn't name Jesus. You know who did? It was an angel, named Gabriel, which means "man of God," and he did this on God's behalf. And do you know what the name Jesus means? It means "He saves." So this was a pretty good choice.

But here's something else funny about our readings tonight. We're about to hear another big part of the Christmas story, twelve more verses of scripture, and not a one of them includes the name of Jesus, either. You'll hear Savior and Christ and Lord but not "Jesus." Not in twelve more verses.

Some people say there are twelve days of Christmas, and I've noticed something about them, too. Sometimes it's possible to go through the whole time, Christmas Day, talking, reading, shopping, getting together with family and never hear the name of Jesus. Sometimes we get ready, set, and go and never stop to say His name, to thank Him, to pray to Him or celebrate Him. These days it's almost possible to go through this whole time without speaking His name, which is a shame because Jesus is the reason for the season. You don't have to count, but you could watch out and see how many times we say Jesus during the songs and prayers coming up in our service tonight. And you don't have to count, but you could watch out and make sure that someone mentions Jesus tomorrow and the day after and the day after, too, through all twelve days of Christmas and more.

Whenever you hear His name, remember that He was named by an angel of God, and His name means "He saves." Which is God's Christmas present for all the world. Christmas present, past, and future. Don't you just love Jesus' name? Amen.

Copyright 2005 Kenneth F. Baily.  Used by permission.

http://www.nhcc.net/sermons/Sermon20051224a.htmBack to top

Parent page ] Sermon "Christmas Eve" ] Sermon "Sacred Vessels" ] Sermon "No System to Save" ] Sermon "Entitled to be Thankful" ] Sermon "Welcome Food" ] Sermon "Waking Devotion" ] Sermon "Sitting at the Welcome Table" ] Sermon "Table Manners" ] Sermon "Speaking of God" ] Sermon "Singing New Songs" ] Sermon "Prepare the Way" ] Sermon "Here-ing God" ] Sermon "The Possibility of Possibility" ] Sermon "Sweet Creations" ] Sermon "Not at All Dead" ] Sermon "March for Life" ] Sermon "Planning, Praising and Pondering Palms" ] Sermon "Imagination, Dreams, and Vision" ] Sermon "Following the Magi" ] Sermon "Pushing Christmas" ] Sermon "Forecasts" ] Sermon "Ready for Christmas" ] Sermon "God in the Middle" ] Sermon "The Days to Come, the One to Come" ] Sermon "Earthly Healing" ] Sermon "Digesting Communion" ] Sermon "The Change of Prayer" ] Sermon "Unbreakable Body" ] Sermon "Seeing Clearly" ] Sermon "Right for Present" ] Sermon "In Memory of Hope" ] Sermon "These Baptisms are Killing Us" ] Sermon "Wanting Prayer" ] Sermon "Last Minute Gifts" ] Sermon "Praying Well = Praying Much" ] Sermon "Peace Repent, Peace Remember" ] Sermon "Choosing Church" ] Sermon "A Model Church" ] Sermon "The Empire Struck Back" ] Sermon "Love is Patient and Primary" ] Sermon "Manifestations" ] Sermon "The Green Grace of God" ] Sermon "Signs of Sacred Things" ] Sermon "A Deal with the Future" ] Sermon "With God in Death; with Each Other in Dying" ] Sermon "Facing God's Miracle" ] Sermon "Finding All Three" ] Sermon "God as a Baby" ] Sermon "What Does It Mean" ] Sermon "Controlling Christmas" ] [ Sermon "Finding Jesus" ] Sermon "Katrina's New Covenant Call" ] Sermon "Elevate your Expectations" ] Sermon "See: the Healing" ] Sermon "Lifeless Chaos and Living Creation" ] Sermon "Rapt Gifts" ] Sermon "Welcome to Reality" ] Sermon "Blue State Blues" ] Sermon "Are we not entitled to thanks?" ] Sermon "Ancient Pieces of Peace" ] Sermon "Noticing Neighbors" ] Sermon "Easter" ] Sermon "Sin: Currently Tense" ] Sermon "Why Are You Angry?" ] Sermon "Anxiety over Sin" ] Sermon "Isn't Marriage Gay?" ] Sermon "A Marriage Grade in Heaven?" ] Sermon "Miracles:  Seeing More in our Midst" ] Sermon "Why are You in Churchl" ] Sermon "Remember your Baptism" ] Sermon "Every Day Spirituality" ] Sermon "The Cross and Joy of Love" ] Sermon "Welcome Back" ] Sermon "Living Together" ] Sermon "Transforming Destruction" ] Sermon "The Work of Healing" ] Sermon "Peace" ] Worship details ]