Sermon for Christmas 1: December 28, 2014

Children grow up, and they do it fast.  They are not meant to stay an infant forever.  They are not meant to toddle around all their life or be completely dependent upon mom and dad all their life.  There are great joys in watching them grow up.  Smiles abound when they learn to read, when they graduate, when they gradually learn responsibility and politeness, when they marry and have children of their own.  But watching children grow up also hurts.  You cannot protect them from everything.  You know that they will suffer from failure, heartbreak, sickness, guilt and more.  Some people will not like our children.  Some people will oppose our children, especially if they have a Christian confession.  They are born into a broken world and they are born broken themselves.  Their pain is your pain because they are yours.

Every mother and father recognizes how fast their children grow up and every mother and father recognizes that there is joy and sorrow in watching this happen.  Never has this been more true than for the mother of our Lord Jesus and his adopted father.  Their baby is the Son of God, in the flesh.  In Him dwells the fullness of the Godhead.  Their baby born was the one through whom they themselves, as well as you, and everything was created.  He will heal many.  He will give sight to the blind and hearing to the deaf.  He will raise up the dead.  He will preach good news to the poor sinners of this life.  He will give life and light because He himself is the Light and Life.  He will reveal God’s will to many lives and teach many about what God thinks about them.

And yet, He is born to cause separation, as well.  Luke 2: 33 And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him. 34 And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed.  His Word and life and very self will have enemies.  He will be opposed.  He will be fought.

John 1:10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.  He was so often rejected in His humility between His birth and death and He continues to often be rejected as we stand in between His ascension and second coming.  He will die bearing the false name of criminal and be mocked and spat upon.  Every whip he receives will also be a whip that His very mother receives, not in her body, but in her soul.  He is her child, her baby boy that she carried in her womb for nine months, wrapped Him in swaddling clothes and placed Him in manger and then cared for until His very death when He was wrapped in burial clothes and placed into a tomb.  She cannot spare him and she, as a believer in His Word, also knows that she shouldn’t want to.

Unlike our death, our pain, our suffering – His death is for her resurrection, and yours.  His pain is for her healing, and yours.  His mocking is for her honor, and yours.  His seeming defeat is the promise her victory with Him of sin, death, and devil.  Though she will weep at His death, both she and you receive joy that cannot be stolen at His resurrection and the preaching of it.

His Words do cause division. He was forsaken by His heavenly Father.  They also cause reunion – a blessed reunion in heaven for you and those who die in Christ.  A blessed reunion with God and man, even as the promise of this communion is received with His body and blood today.  A blessed reunion of your soul with a perfect, unbroken and unbreakable body in the resurrection.

This Christmas season, we repent for every time that we have rejected our Jesus and His Word and His will. His Word is living and active and pierces our hearts, our thoughts and our intentions, which are filled with greed, lust, anger, arguments, doubt, a lack of desire to pray, being surprised when we are disappointed with the promises of this life and not desiring the promises of His Word, coveting and much, much more.  He was born in a manger to prove how little he cares for the riches and promises of this world and yet we cling to our money or complain about our so called lack of money and stuff, as if it is the most important thing in life.  Allow yourself to be cut to the heart by His Word in order that you may also be healed with His Word.

He is as present for you today as He was in Mary’s womb and Simeon and Anna’s arms.  He is present to give you comfort.  He is present to rise  you up from the death of your sin and sorrow and heal your heart.  He is present to give you all wisdom and strength as you hear His Word and receive His sacrificed body and blood to eat and drink.  Mary’s baby grew up and we pray that He help us continue to grow up in Him today.  Amen.

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