Multi-cultural Christmas Carols Concert 2015
There are estimated to be 200 billion stars in our galaxy (the Milky Way), of which our sun is just one. That is 1 out of 200,000,000,000 stars. The arrow marks the approximate place of our sun in our galaxy. This is a Hubble Space Telescope photo of just a few of the stars in our galaxy. And our galaxy is estimated by astronomers to be just one in about 100 billion galaxies.
This is looking up into the night sky. One of the dots in the sky is actually not a star in our galaxy but is the Andromeda galaxy, one of our nearest neighbour galaxies. Even so, it is actually about 2.5 million light-years from Earth. That means light from the Andromeda galaxy takes 2.5 million years to reach us. Compare that with the 8 minutes 17 seconds that it takes light to travel the 149,600,000 kms from our sun to earth.
This is a photo of the Andromeda galaxy. And remember the Milky Way & Andromeda are just two of the universe’s approximately 100 billion galaxies. Let us take a closer look.
You see the yellow box I have marked. I want to move closer to look at what is inside that box – here it is. It shows us a 61,000-light-year-long stretch of the galaxy. Let us go even closer and look inside the next area I have marked off, and closer still, and closer & closer & closer. Finally, let us come back out to see the overview of the galaxy, and back to where we started.
When we think about our awesome universe surely we join with the Psalmist in saying, “The heavens declare the glory of God, & the sky above proclaims His handiwork.” (Psalm 19:1)
And maybe too, along with the Psalmist in Psalm 8 we ask the question, “What is man that you are mindful of him, & the son of man that you care for him?” (Psalm 8:4)
Indeed, is earth not just a tiny insignificant planet lost in the mind-boggling vastness of our universe? And is man not just a tiny insignificant dot on our insignificant though admittedly incredibly beautiful earth? Well, the answer to these questions can be found in the message of Christmas. Christmas tells us that two thousand years ago God entered time & space. God became a man. He entered our human history.
And the reason He did this was to be our Saviour. Jesus was born in Bethlehem, He lived & He died, & on the third day He rose again victorious over death & the grave. He ascended into heaven & one day He will come again to judge the living & the dead. In the meantime He sends His followers, you & me, into the world to witness to the Good News, as we sang a moment ago in the Kiwi carol “Te harinui” – Maori for Good News of Great Joy. This message reaches to the ends of the earth, even all the way down to us here in New Zealand.
And it has reached our great multi-cultural city of Auckland, which contains people from over 200 ethnicities – more than there are countries in the world.
Have you ever wondered how God could possibly be interested in you or care for you – one person amongst so many? Have you ever wondered how it could be possible that He loves you, a sinner? Christmas gives the answer for Christmas points to the Cross, the greatest demonstration of the love of God. He came to earth for you. He died for your sins & my sins. For as you see on the back of our service sheets, “God so loved the world that He gave His one & only Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16. I invite you to believe & put your trust in Him tonight.