Christmas Eve

  • 24 December 2021
  • Stuart Robinson

Matthew 1:18-25.

Titus 3:4-8.

I have been reminded again of the frailty of life – not simply through taking funerals for people my own age (though that certainly gets one’s attention), but like us all, I have been sobered by the statistics associated with the pandemic.

You’ve all heard them, I’m sure; globally more than 275 million people have caught the virus, and around 5.4 million people have tragically died from it.

5.4 million people – that is entire population of countries like Denmark, or Singapore, and more than the entire population of countries the size New Zealand and Ireland.


In less than 2 years.

As I remarked earlier, tragic.

COVID aside, more than 55 million people will die this year, as a matter of course.

120 have died since I began this address (though hopefully not because of this address).

Yes – death is a 100% certainty for each of us.

And that is why Christmas is such good news.

At Christmas, God-in-Christ comes into our world with a view to stripping the power of our nemesis, death.

Let me take another 4 minutes to explain.

The angel said to Joseph (Matthew 1:21-23) that the infant son to be born to his betrothed, Mary, would be both ‘Immanuel’, meaning God with us, and ‘Jesus’, meaning the one through whom God will rescue or save people from the corrosive power of sin.

I should say that sin, simply defined, is living with self at centre.

As a result, sin wrecks relationships between people and within communities.

Sin cuts us off from the life of God, and that results in decay and death.

Hence the joy of Christmas.

God comes to us and orchestrates an extraordinary intervention:

In the person of Jesus – around 30 years after his birth, God embraces the consequences of sin and social discord, on that crucifixion Friday.

He stands in our stead.

Hence the term ‘saviour’ or rescuer.

And then on what we now celebrate as Easter Day, Jesus overpowered the reign of death and rose from it.


The epistle (Titus 3) says that God’s coming to us as saviour, is an expression of his love, and his kindness.

And his grace: Jesus once said to his friends that he would pioneer a way through death into God’s satisfying presence for any person who entrusts their life to him (John 14:1-6).

And I’ll return to that in a moment.

It probably won’t surprise you that there is a Christmas tree sitting in my lounge room this very night.

Underneath that tree are loads of beautifully wrapped (by my dear wife) treasures for children and grandchildren.

What a sorry affair it would be if those brightly coloured gifts sat there unwrapped and ignored, gathering dust, in perpetuity.

Our expectation is that they will be gratefully received, enthusiastically unwrapped, and happily enjoyed.

And that of course is God’s longing and expectation; that his gift of salvation, forgiveness, and friendship, will be gratefully, enthusiastically, and joyfully, embraced.


Titus 3:8 says we need to trust God; or entrust our lives to God…and conform to his agenda.

God himself makes this possible by his Spirit whom he generously gives to all whom he saves (Titus 3:5), such that we might, in his strength, “devote ourselves to doing what is good” (Titus 3:8).

And that is just the tonic that our world needs right now, wouldn’t you agree?

I’d like to close with a short prayer of thanksgiving and commitment to God, this Christmas Eve.

You might like to make it your own, by silently repeating the words in your heart – to Him who loves you.

God of love, thank you for Christmas.

Thank you for coming to us in the person of Jesus.

Thank you for overturning death’s reign of terror, and for giving your all for us.

I do place my life in your hands and do ask you to help me live for you – according to your agenda; that I might be an agent of grace, and hope, to a world that is weary and anxious.

Thank you for hearing and answering this prayer.


Latest Sermons