Christmas Day

Christmas  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  32:09
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God Gives Himself as One of Us!
Grace to you and peace, from God our Father and from our risen Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
It is my prayer that this Christmas is a blessing for everyone, because as we treasure and ponder all that God has done for us, we should walk away singing the song of the angels, Glory to God in the Highest.
But, I also realize this is not the case for everyone. For some, this Christmas celebration you find yourself alone, perhaps because your spouse has departed this world for the next, making it difficult to sing.
Yet, God has something wonderfully in store for you, and for everyone. He has a blessed gift to give, something we desperately need — especially today.
Whenever someone opens a gift, one of the first questions that must be answered is, “What is it?” Today’s readings answer that question about the gift God gave at Christmas. Unlike many of the gifts given and received, the question in this case is not quickly or easily answered; it requires both deep thought and humble awe.
So, I pray that today will be a blessing for everyone because this gift of God is for you. Luke 2:11 declares, “Today in the town of David, a Savior was born for you. He is Christ the Lord.”
Therefore, for the next few minutes lets tear off the wrapping paper and find out what God’s gift for you truly is.

The Word Was God

St. John—the disciple Jesus loved—takes us back to the very beginning of time. Who was there? Well, the simplest answer is the Word and God;
The Word was with God in the very beginning.
Genesis and Creation.
He is identified as the Word
He is called the Word, because the Father “SPOKE” through Him to reveal the true God. Hebrews 1:1-2 “In the past, God spoke to our forefathers by the prophets at many times and in many ways. In these last days, he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe.”
This Word IS God — The Second person of the Trinity
Jesus is the WORD and through Him everything was made.
Psalm 33:6“By the word of the Lord the heavens were made. By the breath of his mouth he made the whole army of stars.”
Colossians 1:15-19“He is the image of the invisible God . . . for in him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, things seen and unseen, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and all things hold together in him. . . For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him.”
Jesus — The Word — is also Life and Light.
Millions of people today are trying so hard to keep from dying, because they they want to live. Well, John gives the answer to those looking for “Life”, the most full and complete life, namely, eternal life.
This “Life” comes first of all from the Word. Eternal life is in Jesus — the Word—and has ALWAYS been in Him. John 14:6“Jesus said . . . “I am the Way and the Truth and the Life.”
And from Jesus, “Life” shines out as “Light” to all people!
This is a great thing, because since the Fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden, we were expelled from Paradise and into the realm of darkness. The devil and his followers are the rulers of this darkness . St. Paul reminds us, Eph 6:12“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”
In order to save people held under the power of darkness, the light of the Word shines to bring life to all who will believe.
Isaiah 9:2“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light. For those living in the land of the shadow of death, the light has dawned.”
Isaiah 60:1-3“Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord is dawning upon you. Look, darkness covers the earth, and deep darkness covers the peoples, but the Lord will dawn upon you, and his glory will be seen over you. Nations will walk to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn.”
Matthew 4:16 “The people dwelling in darkness have seen a great light, and on those dwelling in the region and the shadow of death a light has dawned.”
Although the light shines in the darkness, the forces of darkness resist and fight back. The darkness cannot overpower the light, that is, the darkness is not able to keep Jesus’ light from shining, but the darkness tries to hold back as many as possible within its power.
The Word made flesh is God’s “one and only Son.” He came directly from the Father’s presence. He existed before all things; He is the active Word when everything that exists was created; and with His own presence this Word brought all of God’s undeserved love to this world as the only possible source of LIFE for humanity. And now we hear,

The Word Became Flesh

John says simply that this Word became flesh — a human-being. He did not stop being God as some assume, because John said, “we have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son.”
This event — the Word becoming flesh—is called the incarnation. God took on human flesh. The eternal Son of God, who existed from eternity, assumed a human nature so that He could become our substitute.
This Word become flesh came directly from the Father’s presence and brought all God’s undeserved love, “grace” (χάρις), and the most complete revelation of God’s plan of salvation, “truth” (ἀλήθεια).
And that is not the end. Our text literally says that He — The Word — “dwelled among us.” He set up His tent among us. What this means is that Jesus’ presence among us is the fulfillment of God’s presence, which was foreshadowed in the Dwelling within the tabernacle built by Moses.
But many were not interested in following this One who tented among us.
When God’s glory filled the tabernacle in the wilderness the people followed wherever He led.
Jesus created and made everything in the world, including you and me. So we belong to Him; we are His possession. Yet, it is sad that so many people do not accept or follow Him. John 1:10-11 “He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not recognize him. He came to what was his own, yet his own people did not accept him.”
This very One we come to worship this morning because of His birth among us
Who created the world and everything in it,
The very Word of God who spoke us into existence.
He came into this world as a human-being in order to save us from sin, death, and the power of the devil and yet, many in the world want nothing to do with Him.
Even his very own people — then and now — don’t really accept His authority as God.
Some want to be our own gods, that is to call the shots in their own lives.
Some want their relationship to be conditional — “I’ll love and follow you as long as you let me do as I please.”
What’s tragic is this is the very attitude that caused the people of old to wander in the wilderness for 40-years — a journey that should have taken a couple of weeks.
They wanted God on their terms. They had God’s gift, but their application of it was not correct.
Like John who recorded our gospel reading, we have seen His glory — though veiled within His Word and His body and blood of Holy Communion — and yet, some still do not follow where He leads.
You see, the darkness has such a hold on humanity that many are unable to see the truth. We have God’s gift right before us, and when the question “What is it?” is asked, many cannot answer correctly. Is it any wonder why Christianity has been plagued with so many heresies over the centuries. On our own we cannot break free of the darkness and its effects on our lives.
We do not have the strength. We do not have the ability.
We try to do the right things, but sometimes it seems like we take three steps forward and fall back four. We are not gaining, but loosing ground.
It is not about will-power, it’s about being unable to free ourselves on our own.
What is it that this One who put on human flesh has come to do.

The Word Conquers

The Word—Christ Jesus—came into this world to save us from the power of te darkness of sin, death, and the devil.
Christ Jesus put on humanity, by taking it into Himself as God
He entered this world of darkness in order to rescue you from sin, death, and the devil, by paying the price for our release — which was His death upon the cross.
And after the ransom was paid and satisfied, Jesus rose again from the dead to demonstrate that all who follow Him in faith will receive life everlasting.
Christmas demonstrates that God conquers creation’s curse by placing Himself under it.
He defeats his enemies by surrendering to them.
He uses the aims and efforts of all that stand against Him to accomplish what He desires.
That kind of God is for us, and nothing in all creation can possibly be against us.
All of this is for you. In the incarnation, you receive a gift far greater than what humanity lost in the fall.
You receive Him — the Word made Flesh —
You have seen His glory, full of grace and truth
And you have seen it most especially when He was glorified upon the cross.
He came to take our humanity into Himself as God, and then glorified Himself by being nailed to a cross.
In John 12:28, 31-33 Jesus prays, “Father, glorify your Name” A voice came from heaven: “I have glorified my name, and I will glorify it again.” ...“Now is the judgment of this world. Now the ruler of this world will be thrown out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” He said this to indicate what kind of death he was going to die.”
And so, every time we look at the cross of Christ we see Christ Jesus glorified for you and for me. Christmas serves up deep stuff — the miracle and the mystery of the incarnation. It is my prayer that as we have scratched the surface of these deep truths that you’re beginning to feel like you’re sipping on a delicious cup of hot chocolate. Christmas is good from the very first sip, but it gets better the further you go down. You’ll be glad that you pondered a little bit of the incarnation to grasp a little better this incredible gift God has give YOU this Christmas: “The Word is God, Who Became Flesh, and Conquers all so you can have LIFE to the full..”
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
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