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Sermon for Christmas Day

Augustana, 2011

Click here for mp3 audio 08 Sermon for Christmas Day.mp3

 Note: This sermon was adapted from one in Concordia Pulpit Resources but to me it sounded rather similar to one I preached just a couple, maybe three years ago, before this blog.  Anyway, that’s one argument for using resources from time to time.  They stretch the writer to think beyond where he might otherwise go.

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

Merry Christmas.

Today is the celebration of the eternal Word of the Father taking human flesh and dwelling with us.  It is day that marks the beginning of God dwelling with man, inhabiting our world in the same way we do.  But today also harkens back to the very beginning.  In the beginning the Word was with God and the Word was God.  It should be no surprise that we find God there at the beginning doing what He does, creating the beginning.  After all, He is uncreated, eternal.  There was never a time when He was not.  He has always been and He always will be.  He is without beginning.  If it were any other way, God would not be God.  Everything else, whether visible or invisible, like the mysterious Higgs boson particle, all things are part of the creation of God.  In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.  God made it out of nothing, by the Word all things came into being.  He spoke, “Let there be,” and it came to be.  “All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.”

Before creation, there was nothing just the Word with God.  The Word is a He, not an it.  He is a person, eternal, with God in the beginning.  The Word is a distinct person, divine, not created, with God in the beginning.  He is uncreated, infinite, and eternal God.  He speaks in Proverbs chapter 8, “The LORD possessed me at the beginning of his work, the first of his acts of old. 23 Ages ago I was set up, at the first, before the beginning of the earth. 24 When there were no depths I was brought forth, when there were no springs abounding with water. 25 Before the mountains had been shaped, before the hills, I was brought forth.”  (Pr 8:22–25)  “When he assigned to the sea its limit, so that the waters might not transgress his command, when he marked out the foundations of the earth, 30 then I was beside him, like a master workman, and I was daily his delight, rejoicing before him always.”  (Pr 8:29–30)  All light and life have their beginning and source in Him.  The Word was there when the sun came to be and He was there “rejoicing in His inhabited world and delighting in the children of man.” (Prov. 8:31)  And when God looked out on all that He had made he declared it to be “very good.”  (Gen. 1:31)

Zoom through time from the beginning, through to the first Christmas day and what you find is far different.  There’s darkness, thick darkness and deep gloom over the whole world.  The world in which Jesus entered does not know God.  It is spiritually ignorant and blind.  The creature cannot even recognize its Creator.  It is with this single word, darkness, that John describes the state of the world around us.  The world filled with sin, death and hell is truly dark indeed.  It is confusing.  We misunderstand even the words of the Eternal Word sent to speak to us the truth of God.  The darkness means that we cannot find God, no matter how hard we try, no matter how many times we bump into the stuff God has made.  We carry no spark of light in us.  We are lost, disoriented, alienated and constantly making all the things we bump into in the dark into gods in order to try an manufacture light in this darkness.  We end up serving creation rather than the Creator.

If creation is to be redeemed, saved, rescued from this darkness of sin and death, then God would have to make Himself known, point Himself out, reveal Himself to us.  God must come to the place where we are, descend to earth, enter into His creation so that we lost and condemned creatures might know Him and have communion with Him as we once did, in the beginning.

This is the great surprise and wondrous mystery of Christmas.  God shows us in a place where we certainly don’t expect to find Him:  “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” (Jn. 1:14)  God the eternal Word, who was there in the beginning and not only participated in the Creation, but was the very means by which all things came into being, He took upon Himself a human nature exactly like yours.  The Uncreated became a creature, the Infinite became limited and bound, the Eternal became subject to time and aged.  The Word became flesh, Jesus Christ, true God and true man in one hypostatically united person.

This is the great Christmas message—because man cannot find the Creator, the Creator became man!

The glory of God is seen in the face of Jesus Christ.  He is the light of the World, the light that shines in the darkness, the light no darkness can overcome.

So do you recognize your Maker now, dear Christian?  O creature, do you know now your Creator?  To see the Creator is to see the one who comes to bring salvation.

The one who formed Man from the dust has come with fingernails and eyebrows and kneecaps to reclaim His sin-darkened creation.  He was born of a woman, Mary His mother, wrapped Him in swaddling clothes.  The Creator of the Universe humbled Himself to have His diaper changed.  He was before Abraham, even before Adam, and yet He is laid in a manger in Bethlehem.  O come, let us adore Him.

The one who made the forests and the mountains allowed Himself to be stretched out on a tree on a humble hill.  The Creator of even the Highest heavens suffered and bled for His creation.  The one in whom “we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28) was wrapped in linen and laid to rest in a tomb before He burst the bonds of death and was raised to new life as the firstfruits of a new creation.  O come, let us adore Him.

The One who spoke and created the wheat and wine comes now in bread and wine for you.  His true body and true blood present on this altar given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.  Eternal life, so near now you can see it and taste it.  God gives it to you, His own flesh and blood, into Your mouth, to be taken into Your body.  He makes Himself known to you, gives Himself to You, ensures He is in you and gives you forgiveness of sins, eternal life, and salvation.  Hear the angel voices, “Glory be to God on High, and on earth, peace, goodwill toward men.”  Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God of Sabaoth, heaven and earth are full of Thy Glory.  Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!  O come, let us adore Him, Christ, the Lord.

For God the Word who was in the beginning is now and forever enfleshed in the person of Jesus Christ.  That makes Christmas a blessed surprise: the uncreated, eternal and infinite God comes right here among us as our light and our Life.  Amen.

The peace of God which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds through faith in Christ Jesus.  Amen.

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