A Wonder-Filled Night (12/24/14)

Posted by on Dec 29, 2014 in Sermons | 0 comments

Pastor Jim Bolton 2014-12-24 _6D9A9715 copyPastor Jim’s sermon at this year’s Christmas Eve Candlelighting service  (7:30 service) was entitled “A Wonder-Filled Night.”  The scripture was from Luke 2:8-20. 
Click the “Play” button, then scroll down to follow along…



Wow! The beauty of Candlelight on Christmas Eve

Wow! The beauty of Candlelight on Christmas Eve

Luke 2:8-20

8 Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night.

9 And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid.

10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.

11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”

13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:

14 “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

15 So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.”

16 And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger.

17 Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child.

18 And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds.

19 But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.

20 Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them. NKJV


Wow- Gifts…

A woman had three sons who competed with each other for her approval and attention (and maybe even for a spot in her will…).  One Christmas, they really tried to outdo each other with gifts.

Milton gave his mother a new house!

Moms Reaction

This house is way too big! I don’t have the energy to keep it clean.

Gerald gave her a new Mercedes!

Moms Reaction

I’m too old to drive; I can’t use that car…

Donald gave her a parrot that recites the Bible!

Moms Reaction

That chicken was delicious!

Do you still get Wowed at Christmas?  Does the whole truth that God left heaven, put on human flesh, just to show you and me how much He loves us… does that still amaze you???  What about a sunset?  Even the gifts and traditions we surround ourselves with… are we filled with wonder at Christmas?


Getting Wowed at the First Christmas…



After the angel left, Mary was left to “ponder these things in her heart.”  She was the only one who knew with certainty that she was a virgin; anyone else couldn’t help but doubt her story about angels and of the Holy Spirit coming upon her.  Talk about a Wow factor!  She was a virgin and yet was having a baby.  She had to be worried about what would happen, but she had the faith to say “whatever God gives is good enough.”  “Be it unto me according to your Word.”



Joseph received a visit from an angel too.  Don’t worry “Joe.”– God’s got this under control. If that wasn’t “Wow” enough, when the baby came along and the shepherds told them what happened, the wonder multiplied.


The Angels

They had the awesome job of telling the world, “Hey guess what- the Messiah is coming, right now!”  All through eternity, they had been prepped for this “job.”  And like a musician with an instrument in his hands, they couldn’t help but sing.  And they were joined by hosts of angels in a mighty chorus of praise.  Yes- even the Angels were filled with awe and wonder.


The Shepherds

At first it was just a normal  night’s work for these men.  Then all of a sudden, one angel appears and tells them that the Messiah has just been born.  They had to wonder- what do we do with this news?  Angels?  Coming to us???  And just as they began to wrap their heads around this visit by one angel, “hosts” of angels suddenly appear and treat them to a concert the likes of which they had never seen before.  They were filled with Awe and Wonder, and their immediate reaction was to go and see this miracle for themselves.  And then, their wonder carried them from the manger back into the hillsides to tell everyone else.


Simeon & Anna

Eight days after the birth, Mary and Joesph followed the Jewish law and brought the Baby to the temple to be circumcised.  By God’s providence they were met by two people, Simeon and Anna, who were prepared for the arrival of God’s Messiah and who were filled with wonder.

Simeon & Anna


That day a man named Simeon, a Jerusalem resident, was in the Temple. He was a good man, very devout, filled with the Holy Spirit and constantly expecting the Messiah to come soon.  For the Holy Spirit had revealed to him that he would not die until he had seen him—God’s anointed King.  The Holy Spirit had impelled him to go to the Temple that day; and so, when Mary and Joseph arrived to present the baby Jesus to the Lord in obedience to the law,  Simeon was there and took the child in his arms, praising God.   “Lord,” he said, “now I can die content! For I have seen him as you promised me I would. I have seen the Savior you have given to the world.   He is the Light that will shine upon the nations, and he will be the glory of your people Israel!”   Joseph and Mary just stood there, marveling at what was being said about Jesus.  Simeon blessed them but then said to Mary, “A sword shall pierce your soul, for this child shall be rejected by many in Israel, and this to their undoing. But he will be the greatest joy of many others. And the deepest thoughts of many hearts shall be revealed.”

36-37 Anna, a prophetess, was also there in the Temple that day. She was the daughter of Phanuel, of the Jewish tribe of Asher, and was very old, for she had been a widow for eighty-four years following seven years of marriage. She never left the Temple but stayed there night and day, worshiping God by praying and often fasting.   She came along just as Simeon was talking with Mary and Joseph, and she also began thanking God and telling everyone in Jerusalem who had been awaiting the coming of the Savior that the Messiah had finally arrived.


As we look at these people, and as we look at everyone who came in contact with Jesus during his 33 years on the earth, we see that wherever Jesus is, wonder and awe are also there.


Getting Wowed all the Time…

But what about us? What are some of the gifts that God wants US to be “Wowed” with?  What Christmas Wonder is in our hearts right now???  Advent is about preparing the way so that the Christ Child can be born into our lives; so that we can experience the wonder and awe that comes with Christmas.

Click the tabs below and “open some gifts”…

During advent we light candles to remind us of the Hope, Peace Joy, and Love that is available to us when we have a relationship with Jesus Christ. You can’t buy these at Home Depot or Zales (jewelry store). These gifts only come through a baby born to a virgin.

Notice that anyone near the baby had to sing! They couldn’t help but be filled with wonder.  They wanted to sing.  WE have to sing!

God wants to have a relationship with YOU! Despite all of your failures and shortcomings, the Creator of the Universe wants your love and He wants to love you. If you were the only person who needed to be saved, Christ still would have left heaven just for you.

The wonder never stops flowing when you know Jesus Christ.

God’s gifts never wear out or run out. Just like the manna that fed the Hebrews in the wilderness every day, God provides and gives us what we need day by day. You never outgrow or get tired of God! Unlike the Christmas decorations that get put away in the attic and replaced with other things, God’s gifts never get put away.

The wonder never stops.


In 1988, Scott Wesley Brown wrote a song called “I Wish You Jesus” …

I could wish you joy and peace to last the whole life long.  I could wish you sunshine or a cheerful little song. I could wish you all the happiness that this life could bring.


I could wish you leaves of gold, or that all your paths be smooth. I could wish you treasures, or that all your dreams come true.  I could wish you paradise that every day be spring.


But I wish you Jesus.  Because when I’ve wished you Jesus, I’ve wished you everything.


May the light and wonder of Jesus be under your tree and in your hearts always!



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