NOTE: This is a reworking of the text from my Christmas Eve message. It can be found here. I hope it’s an encouragement to your faith, as we enter into 2022!
On this dark Christmas Eve, would you like a Word from heaven?
It was ages ago that the lonely couple was cast out of the perfect garden.
A temple, a perfect place where God and man could live together.
It all broke, by a decision wrongly made.
The garden door was closed.
The cherubim, with flaming sword, secured the tree of life.
Left on the outside, never left alone.
God showed up again and again.
Visiting them and their children with promises, filling them with new dreams.
He rescued their futures from flood waters.
He wrestled with their wills and calmed their fears.
He led them through seas, over rivers and across the rugged wilderness.
But still his visits were only visits.
Sweet and temporary.
Adding life between good-byes.
Tastes of a future dreamt of when good-byes will be no more.
For long seasons heaven was distant and silent.
A word from the Lord couldn’t be heard.
People drifted and wandered.
Kings rose and fell.
Were those words from heaven figments of imaginations long gone?
They wondered, for centuries they asked.
When would he visit again?
When would we hear a word?
We need a word, a word from heaven.
We need to know there are answers to our questions.
We need to know God is alive with activity around us.
We need to know he attends to all creation.
We need to know the cold dark night isn’t forever.
We have hungered for a word from heaven.
We have waited in faith that a word would come.
The slow creaky opening of the door meant someone was on the other side.
Three angel appearances pried open space and time.
Three heavenly words awakened the world to the movement of God.
He hadn’t disappeared.
He hadn’t been silent.
He was preparing the world for a word from above.
Words of reassurance.
Words of invitation.
Words of comfort for those who had been waiting so long.
Gabriel spoke to Zechariah. (Luke 1:13)
“Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard.”
A word from heaven.
God had heard his prayers.
Wouldn’t we like that word from heaven?
Your prayers have been heard.
The answer is here.
It’s bigger and better than you ever dreamed.
Gabriel spoke to Mary. (Luke 1:35)
“You will be with child and give birth to a son.
He will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end. …
An invitation to bear the Son of Man.
She heard, consented, and ascended as Blessed.
Wouldn’t we love that word from heaven?
A word of invitation?
Invited to step outside ourselves into the purposes of God?
Another Angel of the Lord spoke to Joseph. (Matthew 1:20-21)
“ ‘Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife.’”
In his restless sleep, a word from heaven brought comfort.
This was of heaven, not hell.
It was of love, not betrayal.
It was of faith, not moral failure.
Wouldn’t you like this word from heaven?
A word that meets us in our big questions and big decisions?
Can you imagine receiving a word from heaven?
We’d love for angels to show up and tell us God’s plan.
We’d love to be quaking in awe and filled with love.
We’d love to know the glory of God in our midst.
We’d love to be reassured that the light of morning is on its way.
We’d love to hear the angels whisper answers to our questions.
We’d love the assurance that we’re included in God’s thoughts.
These words were only preparation for THE WORD FROM HEAVEN.
In Christ, we’ve been given THE WORD, Jesus –
In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God. (John 1:1-2)
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.
We have seen his glory,
the glory of the One and Only,
who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)
This is the Word from heaven.
He’s the Word who spoke Light into existence.
He’s the Word of Wisdom through the ages.
He’s the Word of the covenants of promise.
He’s the Word of truth who endures from generation to generation.
He’s the Word of love who would bow down from his throne to wash our feet.
He’s not a word from heaven.
He’s THE WORD, we’ve needed, we’ve longed for, we’ve cried for.
Of all the words God spoke since the Garden, the Jesus is THE WORD.
God spoke in these last days to us by his Son.
The Son is the radiance of God’s glory.
The exact representation of his being.
Sustaining all thing by his powerful word.
He became as much superior to the angels. (Hebrews 1:1-4)
This One who is the greater Word.
The self-revealing Word.
He said we need nothing more!
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened.
I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me.
I am gentle and humble in heart
Find rest for your souls.
My yoke is easy.
My burden is light.” (Matt. 11:28-30).
Celebrate his birth.
No longer waiting with hesitancy and fear.
As if waiting for any word from heaven.
But now embracing THE WORD from heaven who has come.
He’s the WORD of assurance that God hears our hearts.
He’s the WORD of invitation including us in God’s work in the world.
He’s the WORD of comfort that God is in the details as they’re folded into his eternal plan.
He’s the WORD, Jesus.