Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Sermon for Christmas Day: "When God Speaks"

+ The Nativity of our Lord, Christmas Day – December 25th, 2016 +
Redeemer Lutheran, HB
Series A: Isaiah 52:7-10; Hebrews 1:1-12; John 1:1-14

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

At Christmas, we sing carols, we hear the Christmas story, we send cards, we greet each other with “Merry Christmas”, we watch our favorite movies on TV, we pull out our favorite recipes for dessert or dinner.

But none of these things would be possible without words. No words…no Christmas.
And of course, not just any word will do. After all, when we pound our steering wheel for the red light to turn green, it doesn’t obey the sound of our voice. When we shake our fists at the referees on TV or in person, they don’t change their call because of our beautifully crafted insults. And as nice as it would be, our desks, cars, or homes don’t spontaneously begin to clean themselves the moment we say, “be clean!”

No, when we speak, things don’t always happen the way we want.

God’s Word, on the other hand, is quite different. God’s Word is living and active. God’s Word is a two-edged sword of Law and Gospel. God’s Word kills and makes alive. God’s Word creates life something out of nothingness. God’s Word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. When God speaks, things happen. The lame walk. The blind see. The wind and waves obey. The dead rise. Sin is forgiven. In the beginning, we hear God’s creative word: “Let there be light!” And it was so.

God’s Word at Christmas is just as creative. The Virgin Mary conceives a child by the Holy Spirit as promised in God’s Word. Mary and Joseph both believe God’s Word. The Angel chorus sings God’s Word. The Shepherds rejoice and run to see Jesus according to God’s Word. The Magi find their way to Jesus because of God’s Word. The prophets’ words are fulfilled as the Eternal Word of God becomes flesh for you.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God.  All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

Everything at Christmas happens by God’s Word. When God speaks, He gives you life in Jesus, the Word made flesh for you.

What a difference from our words.

When we speak, we tear down instead of build up; we lash out at those who hurt us; we spread gossip and insult our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ instead of speaking of them in the kindest way. Out of our mouths come both blessing and curse against God and our neighbor. When we speak, we boast in ourselves; we lie, betray, and destroy. Worse than that, by the time we speak, it’s too late. We have sinned in thought, word, and deed.
God has a Word all our words. Repent. Turn away from your words to God’s Word.

For God’s Words are not our words.

When God speaks, He gives you life in Jesus, the Word made flesh.

On Christmas Day we sing, receive, and rejoice in God’s Word.

On Christmas Day God speaks his Word of rescue, redemption, and restoration to you as he promised throughout his Word in the Old Testament.

When God speaks to Adam and Eve He creates life. The promised child born to silence the devil’s lying tongue once and for all is the Word made flesh, born of the Virgin Mary.

When God speaks to Noah he restores creation. God’s Word is fulfilled in the Word made flesh, whose birth, life, death, and resurrection restores creation far as the curse is found.

When God speaks to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, he promises an Offspring. God’s Word is fulfilled in the Word made flesh, Abraham’s offspring through whom we, and all nations, receive the adoption as sons and heirs.

When God speaks to David, he establishes his throne forever. God’s Word is fulfilled in the Word made flesh who is David’s son and David’s Lord, the Son of the Most High whose kingdom and peace will have no end.

When God speaks to Isaiah, he gives a sign. The Virgin shall conceive the Word made flesh, Immanuel: God with you in your humanity. God with you in the manger. God with you on the cross. God with you in his Word. How beautiful are the feet of him who is Good News for you.

In many and various ways, God spoke to his people of old by the prophets. But now in these Last Days, he has spoken to us by his Son.

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

God’s Christmas Words to us are as mysterious as they are joyful. The eternal Word through whom all things were made, and in whom all things have their existence, and are held together, the eternal Son of the Father, the Second Person of the undivided Holy Trinity, became “bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh.” In Bethlehem, the Lord has bared his holy arms for you in the infant arms of Jesus.
The Creator becomes a creature. The Infinite resides in the finite. The fullness of the Deity dwells among us bodily. God and Man are reconciled. What Adam, and we along with him, lost in corruption, Jesus restores. God sends his Son to make us sons of men God’s children. God is Man and Man is God in this tiny Child born of the Virgin Mary in Bethlehem.
Today, the Word Made Flesh dwells with us in the same humble, creaturely way.
When God speaks, he drowns our sin and raises us up to new life in Holy Baptism.
When God speaks, he is swaddled for us in the preached word and written word.
When God speaks, he summons pastors and people, like the lowly, humble shepherds to run and tell his Good News of peace and pardon to all who hear.
When God speaks, he comes to you mangered in the bread and wine of the Lord’s Supper – your house of Bread, your Bethlehem – where the Word remains flesh and dwells with you and for you.
There you will find Him, swaddled in all His enfleshed glory, offering you grace upon grace, today and every day you hear the Lord’s Word. In Jesus’ word we have everything we need for a Merry Christmas.
For when God speaks, He gives you life in Jesus, the Word made flesh for you.
 A blessed Christmas to each of you…

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

No comments:

Post a Comment