Sunday, December 25, 2011
Christmas Eve 2011
Christmas Eve 12/24/11 Luke 2:1-14 Bror Erickson [2:1] In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered.  This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria.  And all went to be registered, each to his own town.  And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David,  to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.  And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth.  And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.  And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.  And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear.  And the angel said to them, "Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy that will be for all the people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.  And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger."  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,  "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!" Luke 2:1-14 (ESV) Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. So the Angel announces himself to the shepherds in the field, preaching the Gospel, preaching good news. A savior is born, unto you. And not just unto the shepherds mind you, but unto you, unto all the people, A savior who is Christ the Lord. Oh the meaning packed into those words. Mother Mary has given birth to her savior, to the Messiah, the Christ, to the Lord, to her Lord, to her God. Try to wrap your head around that if you ever really want a headache, it’ll put a knot in your brain. For man it is impossible, but for God all things are possible. This truly is gospel, which means good news. It is news, perhaps old news some 2000 years later, but still good news, the goodness just hasn’t worn off this news, because some 2000 years later, we still find ourselves in need of this savior who is Christ the Lord. Yes, a Savior has been born unto you. I mean this is why we celebrate this child’s birth with such pomp and circumstance. He is not just some random child, but he is our savior, the one who has come to save us, and we realize that we need saving. Perhaps at no other time of year, in a display of irony, do we see man’s need for a savior then the day’s between Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve, as people pepper spray others, elbow kick and stomp on each other trying to get the newest version of whatever at Walmart. Perhaps that’s not you. But then don’t you see your blood pressure rise as you look for a parking spot at the mall. So much easier to shop online, if only you knew what you were looking for. And ever wonder why it matters so much? Your trying to buy the perfect present, for who? Maybe you are afraid of the consequences if you buy them the wrong present. What they will think of you? What kind of friend or family member is that? Our greed and impatience comes out in spades at this time of the year. Mine does. After 35 years, I’ve never been able to tame my greed. It doesn’t seem to matter how much I have I always want more. Of course you can’t tame sin, you can’t tame your old Adam. It’s sin like this that will kill you. It will, as sure as you know your number is coming, it will be your sin that kills you. You can’t tame it. The only thing one can do with their sin, their old Adam is kill it. Kill it dead. But this is beyond our own ability. We can’t kill it without killing ourselves, and killing ourselves doesn’t even kill sin. And yes, sin lives, sin lives more than you live, it lives like a cancer on your soul, crushing the life out of you, like a persistent tumor squeezing the breath out of your lungs. And there is nothing you can do about it. Not you. But unto you, a savior is born, who is Christ the Lord. Yes, unto you. That is what is so special about this child born in a manger. He is your savior, whom God sent to be a propitiation for your sin. This little baby boy, this child, the long promised savior promised to Eve, promised to Adam, in the form of a threat to the serpent. Yes, her seed, the fruit of a virgin womb, that is truly her seed, because it can’t be his seed, born this day is your savior, marked to be your propitiation, marked for death, to be the death of your sin. His death will provide for you the propitiation, the satisfaction for your sins, so that when sin finally does claim this sinful life of yours, it will not mean your death, but the full glory of life. This savior will die in your place, to forgive your sins, to give you life. This savior who is the Christ, the long awaited for anointed one, who is himself the Lord, that is Yahweh. Yes, This little child, as announced by the angels, is God himself in the flesh, there to die for your sins, the only propitiation powerful enough to kill your sin with forgiveness, to satisfy the wrath of God, is the death of God. For this he sent his only begotten to be born this night. A savior born unto you, who is Christ, the Lord. Now the peace of God that surpasses all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord, Amen.