Christmas Even Morning, 2017, a sermon by Harold Pugh

I open with a short poem of sorts. It is based on the haiku concept of creating an impression in a limited space, in this case 11 syllables, focused on the word “joy”.



invokes love, frees souls,

ignites joy


Now please allow me to expand.

God steps into the world as one of us, demonstrating a humility we could not have imagined.

God’s love for each of us personally is made clear. The source of true peace is revealed. The answer to all of our hopes dwells among us. With Christmas comes a reason for joy; God’s mercy and forgiveness freely given by God, not reliant on our effort, but God’s will.

What we lost in the garden and hoped to recover God brings back for us. Our lost relationship restored, we receive the peace of knowing God always sets things right. Where we may fail, God’s love never fails; God’s love for each of us and all of us is sure. For me, that adds up to joy. Whatever is going on in the world I know my place in God’s kingdom.

Joy is not an action or reaction, it is a state of being which rest on a foundation of faith. While hope keeps us looking and moving forward, faith allows us to live joyfully celebrating the certain reaching of our destination.

I cannot tell you where to find your joy, but I can tell you, kind of, where I find mine.

  • I wish for many things, but my true hope is that when all is said and done, that I have a full and right relationship with God.
  • My hope is joined to a peace in knowing that God is in control. The end is not mine to determine, but God’s, which makes the outcome a sure thing.
  • The joy comes with the knowledge that all will be wonderful, because the God who is in control loves me, personally. God demonstrated this in a way humans might understand by sending His Son into the world to make a way for us to return to God, a way we could not hope to make for ourselves.

In Advent we celebrate the coming of the fulfilment of the promise to Abraham, father of many nations, the fulfilment of the promise to Israel, the man who “wrestled with God”, whose family was to be a blessing to the nations. Joy to the world, for through God’s people, to all people, the Lord has come.