Christmas Eve - DEC 24, 2018

Christmas Eve/Year C

 Dec 24, 2018

Isaiah 9:2-7; Psalm 96; Luke 2:1-20


Tonight, we gather to listen once again, to the beloved Christmas story, that has been shared throughout the world for over 2000 years.

We gather to listen to the stories of a baby born for us, a gift given for all of God’s people…a long-awaited coming of a great light in the lives of those who walked in the land of deep darkness…a long-awaited coming of a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord.

We gather to listen to these beloved stories, as made known to us in the scriptures…through the voices of the prophets, the shepherds, and the songs of the angels…

Into the quiet of this evening, I can’t help but notice the songs of the angels, proclaiming the good news of God’s love for his people…in our scripture readings, and in our hymns that we have sung so far tonight…

We began in the quiet, and in the darkness, and with candles being lit…and with the singing of Silent Night, Holy Night…all is calm…all is bright….glories stream from heaven afar, heavenly hosts sing alleluia; Christ, the Savior, is born!

Our next hymn, the first verse speaks about the angel’s song on this Holy night:

It came upon the midnight clear,

that glorious song of old,

from angels bending near the earth

to touch their harps of gold:

"Peace on the earth, good will to men,

from heaven's all-gracious King."

The world in solemn stillness lay

to hear the angels sing.

In our reading from the prophet Isaiah, one cannot help but hear the glorious, angelic music of Handel’s Messiah…. For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

In the bleak midwinter, Angels and archangels may have gathered there, cherubim and seraphim throngèd the air…

Psalm 96 begins with singing… Sing to the Lord a new song; *

sing to the Lord, all the whole earth…and continues throughout the entire psalm…to proclaim with songs of praise and joy…

Our sequence hymn, before and after our gospel reading, speaks of the angel - choirs proclamation of Jesus our King being born…

'Twas in the moon of wintertime,

when all the birds had fled,

that God the Lord of all the earth

sent angel-choirs instead;

before their light the stars grew dim,

and wondering hunters heard the hymn

Jesus your King is born, Jesus is born,

in excelsis gloria.

the angel-song rang loud and high

the angel song is true.

Jesus your King is born, Jesus is born,

in excelsis gloria.

Let us listen to the part of that story again, when the angels proclaim this good news of great joy!

In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”

Yes…I believe the angel song is true. And, tonight, my prayer and hope, is that you hear the good news proclaimed through the songs of all the angels this night, too.

For the songs of the angels were not just for that one special night. This child’s birth is a song that is proclaimed for all the world, for all of eternity. This child was born for us, but also died for us. This child was born for us…but conquered death, when he rose from the dead, and ascended into heaven, and sent His Holy Spirit to dwell in us, to strengthen us, to encourage us, to comfort us, and empower us to walk in the light of his Love, that came down to earth, on that first Christmas morning. And, we wait, in anticipation and with hope…for this light to be born in us again this night…to come again…in glory…

WE, as ordinary as the shepherds…we who are hurting this Christmas…we who are grieving this Christmas…we who are tired from the never-ending stream of negative news about violence, destruction, division, hunger and sorrows…The angel songs are for us, too…the announcement of the good news of great joy, is for our listening ears and hearts, too…songs of love, joy, hope and peace…gifts to receive…a wonderful gift given, to transform our hearts and our lives…to walk in Love with God, one another, and with all of creation…

We only need to stand still for a moment… for the Good news proclaimed by the angels, often comes to us, in those darkest, quietest nights…if only we can be still enough to notice. If only, we can allow our hearts to be broken open. The good news is standing right in front of us at times, but somehow we miss it.

This year, I say to myself…I’m not going to miss it! I hope you will join me, in saying that too…I’m not going to miss it!

The angel of the Lord is standing right here, right now, in this place…the glory of the Lord is shining all around us…speaking to us, in the scriptures, in the songs, in the people gathered…

 “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord.


Jesus your King is born, Jesus is born,

in excelsis gloria….Glory to God in the Highest!


When he comes, will we know He is the One?

When He comes to earth, will He come as a king, with fanfare of trumpets…

 Will the angels sing when He comes?

I think so…I believe the angel song is true. The angel song opens our hearts, our true hearts, to be transformed by the Love of God, born anew in our hearts, on this Holy, and Silent Night…


Listen….for the songs of the angels…on this Holy, Silent Night..


Choir Special: “When He Comes: (J. Paul Williams/Lloyd Larson)


Rev. Julie Platson, Rector

St Peter’s by the Sea Episcopal Church

Sitka, Alaska