Sermon preached by Fr. Ron Barnes, D.Min. Holy Trinity Cathedral, New Westminster, BC
â€ś.....When the angels had gone away into heaven â€¦â€¦â€ť
Life is full of decisions: What career should I choose? What person should I marry? Where should we live? And we all have to make decisions. Without knowing until later if the decision was right or wrong.
The Shepherds had to make a decision. The angel had told them about the Birth of Jesus --- now, should they go to Bethlehem, or stay with the sheep? Iâ€™m sure that there were people who wanted to stay instead of to go, to play it safe, for even to decide not to go, not to make a decision, is to decide. The Shepherds decided to go, and they found Jesus. And because of that decision, their lives were changed --- â€śthey returned Glorifying Godâ€ť --- because of their decision, they would never be the same again.
On Christmas Eve, there were crowds of people here at the Cathedral --- they came, they heard the Gospel of the Birth of Christ, they experienced the Presence of God, and it was all good --- but what then? Was it all just a beautiful experience? Or will they change their lives and make a deeper commitment to Christ? After the angels had returned to heaven, comes the time of decision --- a decision that can be life changing, or nothing.
Not only the Shepherds were called to make a decision, but the Wise Men too, those who saw the Star and new what it meant, they had to make a decision too. Would they go or stay. Their decision to go was life changing --- for they found Jesus in the house, with Mary and his foster father Joseph --- and they would never be the same again.
Celebrating Christmas is wonderful, heartwarming, gracious, and soul stirring --- but after the celebration comes the decisions. Because of what I have experiences on Christmas Eve:
- Do I walk with Jesus daily, or not?
- Do I accept Him as my personal Saviour, or quietly ignore Him?
- Do I make a Commitment to His Church, or find some excuse for staying away?
- Do I allow Jesus to change my life right now, or keep on in the same old way?
And the Shepherd said: â€śLet us go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass. And they went and found Jesus â€¦ just as the Angel has told themâ€ť.
The day after Christmas brings everyone to a decision --- What am I going to do with Jesus? --- do we leave from where we are, and begin the journey to our Bethlehem, or do we stay, as we are, where we are?
â€ś.... When the angels had leftâ€¦â€ť --- comes the decisions that count. What will we decide?