Christmas 1 Sermon Dec 30, 2018 Fr. Michael Cawthon

What a glorious week we have just completed.

On Sunday, after the 10:30 service we decorated and prepared the Lord’s House

Monday Night we had a Christmas family service and then a beautiful Midnight Mass

Tuesday – Christmas Day we celebrated the Incarnation of our Lord

Wednesday – We honored the first Christian Martyr – St. Stephen who died confessing Christ while praying forgiveness for his persecutors.

Thursday – We celebrated St. John one of the great Apostles whose last message at Ephesus was “little children, love one another.”

Friday we lived through the horrific day of Holy Innocence as we remember the slaughter of the little children by King Herod…

And finally today we arrive at the 1st Sunday after Christmas…

Many would ask, what has all this been for?

What impact does this Christmas story have upon my life?

Yes, the babe in the crib is beautiful, and the Christmas Story brings joy to our hearts, and it should be a time of reflection;

However today, for many, the Christmas Season has turned into a time of chaos

as we chase and pursue that perfect gift for someone special,

and heaven forbid we forget on our gift list this person or that person:

the pressure we put on ourselves is tremendous and unnecessary.


Today Readings try to bring us back to reality:

as the meaning of this day is made clear and reveals the greatest gift ever given.

And what gift is that – – – what do you think? — Jesus?

And yet it is through this baby Jesus that another gift given, upon which we often neglect to reflect upon.

I am going to use the words of one of the most important figures in our lifetime…

These words are appropriate for this time of year –

and they were spoken by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The words all of you should know –

“Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”

You see my friends, before the Incarnation,

the birth of Christ and the coming of God into His creation,

all of mankind was under the law.

Yes indeed, the law was the fullness of God’s grace,

but who could enjoy it (?),

bound by its restrictions of which were laid down by the Will of God.

Even Paul speaks of this – in the Epistle to the Galatians in this morning’s reading:

“Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child,

differeth nothing from a servant,

though he be lord of all;

but is under tutors and governors until the time appointed by the father –

even so we, when we were children,

were in bondage under the elements of the world:

but when the fullness of the time was come,

God sent forth his Son,

made of a woman,

made under the law,

to redeem them that were under the law…

God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into “your hearts”

crying, Abba, Father.

Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son;

and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.”


You see my brethren, this is what occurred on the night of our Savoiurs birth…

“Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”

This precious gift to mankind, Jesus Christ, came to us bearing the greatest of all gifts – our Freedom.

He came to set you free from your past sins,

to cure you of this dreadful disease we call sin,

he came for all who will love him:

and it is those – who do His will – – –  that love Him


This Sunday reveals the meaning of His coming – and it is actually simple:

His coming is for your benefit,

– His coming is for your Joy,

– His coming is for your soul and its eternal life.

So I ask each of you here this morning,

are you going to accept this gift that He brings…

Are you going to make this year more Holy than last –

Are you going to allow His priorities to slowly become yours

Are you going to elevate your prayer life this year –

Are you going to put in His Church above all else on Sunday’s –

Are you going to give HIM more (time, effort, prayer, and financial support) in the up coming year?

Are you willing to carry the cross of Jesus more highly this year –

not for your sake, but for His sake!


I hope to see all of you tomorrow night for our midnight mass celebrating the giving of the name Jesus at the Circumcision of our Lord and New Year,

(And we have Mass at Noon on Tuesday for the Circumcision of our Lord – which is a day of obligation.)

You may say this is asking much, but it He who gives you much.

Think, reflect, and pray to your God and Saviour that He may assist you with His Grace,

And above all, listen to this Babe who lies in the cradle this morning (still without a name) –

For this is the same Jesus Christ that will hang upon the cross for you.

Reflect upon His meaning within your life, and then act accordingly.

May God Bless you and your journey with Him during this upcoming year.

As we will sing a little later: (Later today at the 10:30 service)

Good Christian men rejoice,

With heart, and soul, and voice;

Give heed to what we say:

Jesus Christ is born to day;

Ox and ass before him bow,

And he is in the manger now.

Christ is born today!

Christ is born today!


So love him today, tomorrow, and always,

for He has come to be with you –

So bring joy to His heart – and accept his gift by being with Him…

Come unto your God

and do not wait – He is here for you today.

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