God sent a messenger to a young girl named Mary…to get her permission before he continued. The messenger went to Joseph and said, “Joseph, there is so much of God in this than you can see right now…Don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife.” And, when the baby was born, Angels sang to shepherds out in the field, “Don’t be afraid, for I bring you Great Tidings of Great Joy…Unto you is born this day in the City of David a Savior who is Christ the Lord…in whom every person will find the resolution of life and death.” Now that is my addition to what the angels sang, but I believe that is what was beginning to happen. Jesus will be the door through which every person who believes will find eternal life in Christ.
Dr. Truett Gannon, Pastor Emeritus
All Saints Day—November 5, 2017
Dr. Gannon’s All Saints Day Sermon reminds us that Advent is more than merely a church season. Christmas is more than merely a holiday celebration. God’s Incarnation changes everything. Don’t not be afraid…for even death itself will be defeated.
During this Sacred Season, we will lift our hearts and voices in song to the God who brings Good Tidings of Great Joy. This Advent, our theme is Songs of Advent and Christmas. We will study the songs of Zechariah, Mary, shepherds, angels, and Simeon as we prepare our hearts and our world for the coming of the Christ child.
As a child, I believed that Christmas was all about getting. I made my list and checked it twice. I tried to avoid being naughty and embraced being nice. The gifts were a reward for being good.
Later, I learned that Christmas was about giving. Before I asked, God answered. “For God so loved the world…that he gave his only son…” This gift was an expression of God’s grace.
This year, I believe that Christmas is about gratitude. We recognize the gifts we have been given in our families, friends, and faith…Then, we respond to those gifts with gratitude. We offer God our hearts and hands. We give God our time and talents. Like the Wise Men, we bring our gifts.
When I was a child in St. Louis, we always traveled to Kentucky for Christmas with the family. It meant a four-hour drive with four kids in the back of the car. It was a long trip. So, sometimes…we would sing.
Friends, we have a long trip ahead…Bethlehem is not just around the block…But, as we follow the Star, may our hearts be filled with gratitude and our heads be filled with songs.