Tuesday, December 04, 2018

Sermon for 12/4/18: Midweek Advent I (Hymns Series)

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Savior of the Nations, Come

Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Amen. 

We are right to consider and speak of the miracle of birth. We are amazed at how tiny fingers and toes can be. Infant eyes are so lovely and bright. Pudgy little arms and legs stretch and flex. Who can resist these tiny features? Any birth is miraculous in its own way. Just about every adult has had the pleasure of holding a newborn, and that wonder and joy is multiplied when the child is our own flesh and blood.
Birth and life are exquisite. Perhaps that’s why we feel so tremendously shaken by the untimely death of infants and children. The hardest thing I’ve ever had to do as a pastor is preside at the burial of an infant. It seems we hear all too often about children who die as collateral damage in drive-by shootings. Abuse is epidemic. Attacks on schools seem to be a weekly occurrence. And, of course, we would be sinfully negligent to forget abortion. When we hear about such atrocities, we in the community of faith must do more than shake our heads and murmur our disappointment. We must affirm God’s sacred gift of life in the womb, life fresh from the womb, and life even to the moment of a natural death. Life matters. Life is a gift from God. We must hear again the Word which tells us that God breathed the breath of life into Adam and Eve. Life is a sacred gift, and we must remember and honor that gift, teaching our children the value of all life from the womb to the grave.
Such thoughts remind us of the words of our hymn: “Marvel now, O heaven and earth, that the Lord chose such a birth.” The life God created matters so much to Him that our Lord chose to born as one of us. God became flesh to dwell among us. Yet despite the humble scene of our Lord’s birth, there is one important factor that makes our Lord’s birth a singular, unique event: Jesus was born of a virgin mother. The angel tells Mary, The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.” And so “the Word became flesh;” this child is both God and man.
This exquisite birth of our Lord serves as a marvelous sign for all time that God acts in a unique way in the coming of Jesus. In His unique conception and humble birth, and in all His life upon earth that follows, God works to bring His redeeming and saving power to His creation. God became one of us, but without sin, in order to redeem each of us. His birth pushes us onward to behold His ministry, and then to behold His death and resurrection. This Jesus comes as Savior, and in His coming, God acts purposefully to save us from our sins.
This Advent season, let us marvel at this profound sign which God has displayed for us. The virgin birth proclaims that Christ has come as the Father’s greatest Word of love. In the virgin birth, cross, and resurrection, God expresses His love completely; forgiveness is won; salvation is fulfilled; eternal life is given. God requires nothing more.
That is good news—news that we need to share until all people know of it and believe it. We must move beyond simply observing God’s sign; we must tell our neighbors about it. Christ, the “Savior of the nations,” is coming to give us the gift of life, and we must sing for joy to all the world. Just as the Shepherds do when they hear the angel’s song, let us make known abroad what God has revealed to us: Jesus is coming! “Even so, Lord Jesus, come quickly!” In the name of the Father and of the Son (†) and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

The peace of God which passes all understanding will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus always.  Amen.

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