This is a fairly straight-forward Christingle talk. For a more interactive option, see http://www.becausegodislove.wordpress.com/2014/01/11/christingle-acrostic-talk/
Did you realise, today we’re doing several things at once? We’re making some beautiful Christingles, but we’re also telling a story. It’s an amazing story, the most amazing story of all, and it starts at the very beginning of time, and goes all the way up to right this very minute, and into the future too. And what’s more, we’re all in it. Every single one of us is included in this amazing story. And the Christingles help us to remember and tell the story.
Right back at the very beginning of time, there was nothing. Nothing at all except God. And then God created the world, and everything in it.
[cocktail sticks with sweets]
And God filled the world with all sorts of good things: plants and animals, and mountains and rivers, and the sea and the sun and the moon, and people as well. And God saw that everything he had made was good.
But it didn’t stay good. People did things that they shouldn’t do, and bad things started to happen in the world. And God saw that all was not well with his world, which he loved very much. People were doing bad things, and they didn’t look after God’s world, and they didn’t look after each other. Now, if you’ve done something bad, you might expect to be told off, or punished in some way, mightn’t you? But instead of punishing people for the bad things they had done, God chose to give them – to give us – a gift. God chose to give us the best, most special, most precious, most extravagant gift he could possibly give, better than any Christmas present you could possibly imagine.
That gift was God’s own son, Jesus. At the very first Christmas, God gave us his one and only precious son, Jesus Christ. And God didn’t just give that special gift to Mary and Joseph and the Shepherds and Wise Men, he gave it to everyone, forever. God gave his son to you, and you, and you, and me, and everybody.
Jesus came to be a light to the world, like we heard about in our bible reading just now: “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light.” Before Jesus came into the world, people were walking in the darkness of all the bad things they were doing, all the bad things that were happening, and most of all the darkness of not knowing God in their lives. When Jesus came into the world, he was the light that took away that darkness, and helped people to come to know God.
But Jesus wasn’t only a light for the people who were around when he was alive on earth. He is a light for all of us today. Jesus is the light which shines in our world, and in our lives and in our hearts, and drives away the darkness of all the bad things in our lives. And no matter how bad something might seem, there is never anything too dark for the light of Jesus to overcome.
Jesus Christ came down to earth at the first Christmas, a gift from God our father, and a light to the world forever, but that isn’t the end of the story. Even as we celebrate Jesus’ birth at Christmas, we are looking ahead to Easter, when he died for us on the cross, and rose again to give us eternal life. And that’s another chapter in the same story of God’s love for us.
The red ribbon on our oranges represents God’s love for us, and it’s red to remind us of Jesus’ blood, poured out for us on the cross. To remind us of that great act of love, Jesus Christ, God himself, dying for each one of us. For you, and for you, and for you, and for me, and for everyone. That great outpouring of God’s love for us, which encompasses the whole world, the whole of God’s creation.
And so the Christingles we’re making today represent the whole story of God’s love for us, from the very beginning of the world, right up to this very minute, and on into the future. And at the centre of it all is Jesus.
Jesus Christ, God’s only son, who came down to earth at Christmas as a tiny baby, out of love for us.
Jesus Christ, the light of the world, a light so big that it lights up the whole world, and everything that’s in it.
[orange and sweets]
A light that chases away the darkness.
Inside each one of us is a little piece of that great light. Inside you, and you, and you, and me, and everybody. Each of us carries the light of Christ in our hearts. Each of us can shine like lights in the darkness. We shine when we help people, when we’re kind to people, when we love people, like God loves us. Then we drive the darkness out, and let in the light of God’s love.
When we leave this service today, we will take three things with us. We will take our Christingles, which will last a little while, until we eat them or the orange goes a bit mouldy. We will take the memory of the story we’ve shared and the songs we’ve sung, and hopefully that will last a bit longer. And we’ll take the light of Christ in our hearts, which will last forever, a light that can never be put out.
In our bible reading from Isaiah, we heard that Jesus came to be a light to those who walk in darkness. Elsewhere in the bible, at the start of John’s telling of the Christmas story, we read this: “the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it”. At the end of our service today, we will blow out the light of the candles in our Christingles. But nothing can ever blow out the light of Christ within us.
This Christmas, may we remember the story of God’s love for us; may we live out the truth of that story in our own lives; and may we shine as lights in the darkness, to the glory of God. Amen.