Clement Clarke Moore (1779-1863) wrote the poem “’Twas the Night Before Christmas” in 1822. It is a tradition in many American families to read the poem every Christmas Eve. Here is the familiar beginning portion of it…
“‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house, Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse; The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, in hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there; The children were nestled all snug in their beds, while visions of sugar plums danced in their heads…”
Kim and I read this poem to all of our children over the years. As we were bringing out our Christmas decorations this year, I came across our copy of the book we would read the poem from each year. As I looked at it, a thought came rushing over me. “’Twas The Night Before Christmas” would be a great title for a Christmas message rooted in sacred scripture. In fact, I plan on preaching this message at the Christmas Eve candlelight service at our church.
‘Twas the time of year
This is the time of year where we hear all kinds of Christmas sermons. We are generally told to turn in our Bibles to Luke chapter 2 and read about the foundation of Christmas. But is it? The “first Christmas” we read of in the New Testament is not the actual foundation of Christmas. For the foundation, we need to return to the Garden of Eden.
You will remember that Adam and Eve sinned against God. It was not enough for them to be made in the image of God. They wanted to be God and chose to believe the lie of the deceiver, the devil himself.
As we read in Genesis 3:2-7, “Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, ‘Did God really say, “You must not eat from any tree in the garden?”’ The woman said to the serpent, ‘We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, “You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.”’ ‘You will not certainly die,’ the serpent said to the woman. ‘For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.”
From the time of the fall until the first Christmas we read about in Luke chapter 2, we were living in the time I call the “night before Christmas.” We all know that the night is a time of darkness. When Adam and Eve fell, we all fell and the shadow of darkness covered the land. The sin of Adam and Eve was punishable by death (Genesis 2:17). The apostle Paul confirms this by telling us that “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). God kept his promise as Adam and Eve experienced an instant spiritual death, separation and alienation from God.
When they heard the sound of God walking in the Garden, they hid themselves from him. The intimate fellowship they had experienced from the day God created them was now gone. Day had turned into night. But God, in his mercy, promised that is was not always going to be night. The night before Christmas would one day turn into Christmas day. God’s infinite grace would forever extinguish the dark and dreary night before Christmas by taking upon himself the punishment for our sin…all our sin.
Genesis 3:15 reads, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” This promise from God that a Savior was to come and rescue us is the foundation of Christmas. This is the good news of the gospel. But the good news of the gospel doesn’t make sense without the bad news. The light of Christmas day doesn’t make sense without the long dark night that preceded it. But once we understand the dark night humanity was living in since the fall in the Garden of Eden, the “light” of Christmas day is truly “glad tidings of great joy!”
‘Twas the light of Christmas
Jesus is the “Light of the world” and on that first Christmas morning, his light extinguished the dark night. The promise of God had been fulfilled. The Savior had come. Night was over. Day was upon us. Is Jesus your Savior? Have you trusted in him alone, by faith, for your eternal salvation? If you have not, you are still living in the night before Christmas. Acknowledge that you are a great sinner in need of an even greater Savior. Repent of your sin and receive his promised forgiveness. Receive him by faith as your Lord and Savior. Confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, and you will never again experience the night before Christmas. Jesus is the reason for the season and the One who came to eternally extinguish the night before Christmas. Merry Christmas!
This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!
Tommy Boland is the Senior Pastor of Cross Community Church in Deerfield Beach. Worship services are held on Saturdays at 6pm and Sundays at 10:30am., at 841 S.E 2nd Ct., Deerfield Beach. The church website is thecrosscc.org. For more articles by Dr. Tommy Boland, visit goodnewsfl.org/tommy-boland.