December 25, 2022 | Christmas Combined Worship Services

Rev Raymond Fong

December 25, 2022 | Christmas Combined Worship Services

Rev Raymond Fong

Scripture Passage: Luke 2:8-20 (NRSVUE)


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Summary | The heart of the message at Christmas is clear. The Messiah has come! Emmanuel, the word has been made flesh and God is with us. The angels said, this is the sign – you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloth in a manger. Emmanuel, God is with us and God is a baby.

Three meanings of Emmanuel

1. The radical vulnerability of God. Almighty God is willing to be vulnerable with us. God came in the most vulnerable way as a newborn infant. It is humbling to contemplate the incarnation of God through the birth of His son, for us. God risked being human and was not spared hardship and heartbreak. He was a refugee, misunderstood by his community and family, falsely accused as an agent of Satan and betrayed. Jesus suffered deep emotional pains and was thoroughly vulnerable.

If Emmanuel means a vulnerable God, will we allow Him into our vulnerabilities? Our fears, unforgiveness, disposition to sin, thorn in the flesh, doubts and anxieties. We try to hide these, but behind the façade, we are afraid, insecure, ashamed, guilty and anxious. We often don’t allow God into that vulnerable area. It was through the radical vulnerability of Jesus’ birth and death for us that we are saved. Our own vulnerabilities can be a doorway to experience God and be transformed. This Christmas, will we allow Him in? In doing so, the peace of God will fill your heart.

2. The deep empathy of God. Jesus was fully human in every way and can empathize with all that we go through. (Heb 2:17) God’s empathy is particularly poised towards the least, the last and the unworthy. The promised peace of the birth of Jesus was announced to shepherds, the least in Jewish society. Yet, they had the privilege of divine revelation.

Jesus identifies with the poor, the outcasts, the physically and the spiritually impaired; through His loving and compassionate ministry. God is with us, when we are breaking, broken and brokenhearted. God is with us in the valley, wilderness and storm. We can find strength in the deep empathy of God. Jesus didn’t just suffer; He also triumphed through the suffering and has infinite power to strengthen us with a comfort that He alone can give.

3. The courageous love of God. A vulnerable God needs to be courageous. It is astounding that God laid aside his glory and privileges. In humility, Jesus made Himself nothing and loved us to the point of an excruciating death on the cross. What an amazing love.

Having been courageously loved by God, would you love bravely with it? Jesus loved despite being hurt, rejected, falsely accused and betrayed. His source of love was simply being rested in the love of God the Father. Jesus offers us this wellspring of love, which empowers us to also love courageously.

Our hearts long for a deeper relationship. We have a God-shaped vacuum that can only be filled by God. How shall we respond to His gift? The shepherds left their sheep to go and see Jesus. They took a risk to see Jesus. Will we do the same? Is there something God is calling you to leave behind in surrender?

Mary treasured and pondered what she heard (v19). Likewise let us savour and treasure the meaning of Emmanuel. This Christmas, God is with us, but are we with Him? God calls us to an authentic and life-transforming relationship. When we invite Him in, we find His peace, strength and comfort. God’s courageous love allows us to be the salt and light. Since God has revealed His heart to us, will we respond by giving our heart to Him, and let Christmas happen in our heart?

(Sermon notes by Denis Koh)


  1. What does Emmanuel, God with us, mean for you this Christmas?
  2. If God is vulnerable for us, will you allow Him into your vulnerabilities as you come to in surrender?
  3. What are you going through this season that requires strength? Turn to Jesus to receive the strength that His abiding presence can give.
  4. Who are people you struggle to love? Take time to receive the courageous love of God so that you may love like Jesus did.
  5. Emmanuel, God is with you. Are you with Him? How is your relationship with God this Christmas? Take time to ponder, treasure and reflect (Luke 2:19).
Wesley Communications Team
Posted by Wesley Communications Team

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