December 25, 2018

December 26, 2018


Christmas Day + Luke 2:1-20


Our eyes look forward toward the altar, then we lift up our eyes to the cross, and finally even higher to the peek of the church.

We lift up our hearts and our eyes to the heavens, past the steeple, to the realms of God’s glory.

But today is different, today our eyes are brought low, they don’t look to the heavens but to earth.

Today, on the birth of our Savior, born of the Virgin Mary, we see the manger.

Today, we are forced to look down. Today we are brought low.

Today, God comes down to us, we do not go up to God.

Today, the Word becomes flesh and dwells among us.

Today, God comes from heaven to earth, to be our Immanuel, our God with us.

God is not just in heaven, He is physically with us here on earth.

That is what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown; God coming down from heaven to earth.

Jesus’ manger is heaven on earth.

The manger, in a stable, in Bethlehem, is where the glory of God dwells.

Even at His birth, the Son of God, like all of humanity, is born into suffering and pain.

Remember, immediately after His birth, the Holy Family had to flee to Egypt to escape Herod’s rath.

But, for us, the manger, where the Virgin placed her baby, is paradise at which our soul reclines.

The wood of the manger is just like the wood of the cross, where the Son of God is placed.

He is hung on the cross, given the title by Pontius Pilate, Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.

Hung on the cross, Jesus suffered and died for the sins of the world.

His mother, gazing up, saw her Son die, breathing His last breath, giving up His spirit.

The wood of the manger and the wood of the cross are just like the wood of the altar upon which we gaze this morning; it is where we find needed rest and hope and strength and comfort.

When we come to the altar and eat and drink the very body and blood of Jesus, given in His Holy Supper, we proclaim our Lord’s birth, and death until He comes again.

When we come to the altar, we taste and see that the Lord is good to us, slow to anger toward us, abounding in steadfast love toward us forever. God in the flesh, is in the bread and in the cup.

The manger and the cross and the altar is the same place, it is where Jesus is, where He invites us to lie down in green pasture to restore our soul, and create in us a right spirit.

In the manger, on the cross, and on the altar is where the glory of God dwells for us.

In the manger, on the cross, and on the altar is where God dwells physically.

As we hear Jesus speak to us, judgment and forgiveness through the mouth of a pastor, God in the flesh is speaking to us, entering into us through our ears; and there He will remain.

As we are washed with the waters of Holy Baptism, gathering at the font, there God in the flesh is making us clean, setting us apart, making us His own; and His own we will remain.

He will never leave us or forget about us. Nothing will remove us from His loving hands.

As we eat and drink Jesus body and blood, consuming Him, He enters into our bodies and there He will remain, strengthening us in faith and love toward God and neighbor.

God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit created the heavens and the earth in six days.

He spoke and everything that we see and don’t see were made.

The seas and the winds obey Him. The rocks and and flowers sing His praises.

He made all things for us, to take care of us. He opens His hand to richly and daily provide all that we need.

He comes down from heaven to earth to serve the sinner in great need.

The Son of God came not to be served but to serve.

Jesus, true God and true Man, came down from heaven to save sinners, of whom we are chief.

Our help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.

It is Him who we see in the manger, on the cross, and on the altar.

Jesus is the Light of the world, the Light no darkness can overcome.

He is God of God, Light of Light, Very God of Very God.

He came to purchase and win us from sin, from death and from the power of the devil, not with gold or silver, but with His holy precious blood and with His innocent, bitter suffering and death;

that we would be His own and live under Him in His kingdom, serving Him in everlasting righteousness, innocence and blessedness.

Jesus came down from heaven to once again restore to us the  heavenly riches that we had lost because of our sin, because of our first parents Adam and Eve.

He blesses and keeps us. His face shines upon us. He lifts up His countenance upon us and gives us peace.

This is ours, without any merit or worthiness in us; given to us freely and generously in the manger, on the cross, and on the altar.

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, be of good cheer and let no sorrow disturb you.

You have received the peace of God which surpasses all human understanding.

By the power of the Holy Spirit, we will not fall into false belief, despair, and any other great shame and vice. The devil, the world and our own sinful flesh have no power over us.

We are God’s own Child, through the water of Holy Baptism.

We are God’s and He is ours, how great He loves us.

This is what we see when we look in the manger, on the cross, and on the altar.

On this most holy of days, remember the angels that sang, “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, good will, toward men.”

Remember the shepherds went to see Him, lying in a manger, and how they returned giving glory to God, making known everything they had heard and seen.

Jesus is the glory of God, He has come to remove all earthly sadness.

Joy to the world, the Lord has come. It is in Him whom heaven and earth rejoice.

The world with all of her wealth and gold has nothing to compare to the true treasures of Jesus, the Son of God, true God and true Man. Hold fast to Him. In faith, cling to Him.

Like santa, humble yourself and bow before Him. Come into His presence with thanksgiving.

He is with us always. He is our Immanuel. We have the privilege of seeing Him and hearing Him and touching Him in the manger, on the cross, and on the altar. He is here, in His Church, now and forever.

Oh Come, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker, for He is our God and we are His people. Amen.