Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Sermon for 12/25/19: The Nativity of Our Lord

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

Christ is born. God has come to dwell among us in flesh as a Man. The angels sing. The shepherds wonder at such mercy. Heaven praises God for this incalculable love, beholding the mystery of Love in the flesh. God’s will is always good, and it is His will to redeem men. For our salvation He chooses to dwell among us, to endure suffering, pain, and death. He does this so that we who were humbled by our sin would be lifted up.
This mystery is beyond all of creation’s understanding. The angels cannot comprehend it. Shepherds quake. Mary ponders. God’s ways are far beyond our understanding. Do not ask how this can be. Where God wills, the order of nature is overturned. He who parts the Red Sea, who multiplies the loaves, who calms the wind and waves—it was His will to become Man. And so Christ is born of a virgin. He becomes a Man, yet He never gives up His divinity. He is now and ever will be Man, even as He was, is now, and ever will be God. The Man who was crucified and died, who rose and ascended, sits at His Father’s right hand. This is our exaltation and our hope.
His Incarnation did not cause Him to forsake the angels. He has not deprived them of His care. Though He is a Man, He has not ceased to be God. He still loves what He created. He never stops sustaining and caring for all of it, which He did even while on cross. He is God and Man, one Christ, perfectly united in will and desire with His Father and the Spirit.
So come and adore Him, for He is Christ the Lord. He saves us from our sins. He delivers us from death. He is our God and our Brother. He lifts fallen humanity. He makes us free. God has become a Man! He has picked up His cross. He has taken the bitter cup of wrath. He has endured the worst that Hell could do. He has quenched all its hatred in His holy blood. Rejoice!
But “rejoice” seems too weak to convey the praise that bursts out of us whose consciences have been cleansed by His Word, whose guilt and shame is gone. We are forgiven. The Light has shined in our darkness. He has rescued us from eternal torture for the sake of His grace. What words, what music can contain our joy? Rejoice! Give thanks! Adore Him!
Are you struggling with grief? Come and adore Him. Grace will not make you forget what you have lost. You are still allowed to miss and mourn your loved ones. The joy of Christ is meant to give you comfort. We have God with us in the flesh, who knows our suffering and grief, for He felt it Himself. And so we do not mourn as the world mourns. We have hope.
Our feasting tables will not be the same this year as they were last year. Death and divorce, arguments and betrayal have altered them. And they will not be the same next year as they are today. Even so, rejoice! Adore Him! God is Man in Christ, and He is good. His mercy endures forever. Our dead will not stay dead. Because Jesus lives, they live. We trust even now that God will work good in everything, even in our grief.
Your pain will not endure. Your loneliness and sorrow will pass. Even heaven and earth will pass away. Nothing lasts forever…nothing, except for the mercy of our God in Christ. The trumpet will sound. The dead will be raised. We will be changed. We will be as we were meant to be. All sadness will end. For our God is a Man! Christ is cradled in the Holy Scriptures. He is cradled in the bread and the wine by which He gives us His body and blood. We are joined to Him by faith through grace.
Rejoice, O Christian! Sing with the angels. Whatever burdens might be yours, rejoice that Christ is born. He brings peace on earth and goodwill between God and man. He will never leave you nor forsake you. Rejoice! Adore Him! Christ the Savior is born. 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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