The joy of Christmas is the birth of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Through the centuries, Christians have found ways to express confident joy in the blessed gift of salvation. This evening we gather to hear of angels, shepherds, and a baby in a manger. Saint Matthew tells us who the baby is: Immanuel, God-with-us. Because we do not deserve to have God near us at all, this is truly a gift. He comes to us and lives among us in time and space so that we might be with him forever in heaven. This evening we celebrate not only a birth so long ago, but the promise of our eternal future which he alone brings.