December 25, 2009: Christmas Day

GRACE MERCY AND PEACE ARE YOURS FROM THE WORD MADE FLESH, JESUS CHRIST!

TEXT: John 1: 1-14

Fellow Redeemed Sinners At Peace With God Through The Baby Jesus:

The lesson before us could correctly be called: The Most Amazing Words Ever Written. I say that because they are! You can delve into every great book, treatise, poem, or letter written by a human being and nowhere will you ever find words of the depth, the profundity, the joy and the truth of these verses written by St. John. Of course, we know why, don’t we? First, they come from the Holy Spirit, and secondly they lay before us the greatest truth in all creation—God’s eternal Son came to earth, took on our flesh and blood, and thereby made known to us the reality of God’s undying love.

For many years, my lovely wife and I enjoyed listening to a PBS program called: Carols From Kings Chapel. The beautiful voices of the boys/men’s choir, the stirring hymns of old, and the Scriptural readings interspersed between them brought tears to our eyes. And each year, tradition dictated that this lesson from John would be read. Indeed, it forms the high point of every Christmas in every church across the planet because it encapsulates the amazing, profound truth of Christmas.—The infinite God assumes finite flesh to save us.

For almost 2000 years Christians have marveled at these words. The smartest people on the planet cannot fully fathom their meaning. And yet simple children hear them and instinctively know that they are wonderful, serious, and joy-filled because they tell us about Jesus. They tell us about the bigness of Jesus. And it is for these reasons and more, much more, that I’ve preached on this text every Christmas Day for many years. I cannot get enough of them, either!

Christ is the eternal Son of God. He is without beginning and without end. He’s bigger, older, and stronger than anything else in the universe. In fact, He’s wiser too, as He created the universe—including the afterlife. Here Jesus is called: the Word. He’s the living Voice, the living Power of God Almighty. He dwells in unimaginable Light because He is Light. He dispels all darkness—including the darkness of human sin, human evil, and human despair. This eternal Word came to earth and condescended to be born in a manger. He came and took on human flesh and blood. He took on our humanity while never giving up His divinity. And in so doing He also agreed to assume our sins, our inner failings, and even our death.

Right here St. John lays before us in these amazing words the most amazing truth in the entire universe. He states that this little Baby, that small vessel of humanity that contained the hugeness of God’s heart; that that little Baby was full of grace and truth. He was filled to overflowing with undeserved love from God’s heart to us! Moreover, whoever seeks to embrace that Baby through faith and to hold Him in their hearts, those people will be given His infinite love, His infinite life, His infinite joy.

Folks, this is “big stuff.” This makes the presents, the decorations, the food, and all the other fluff look rather silly in comparison. For right here God gives His answer to the biggest questions humans can conceive: “Why was I born? What’s life all about? What happens when I die? Is there anything beyond the confines of earthly existence?” God answers all that in the form of a small Baby Boy Who is also the Eternal God in the flesh! He answers it by saying: “I came to save you. I was born so that through Me you might live forever. I am the reason behind your birth and your death. I am never-ending love and I give that love to each of you!”

I have to tell you: I’m in awe of this lesson. My job as a preacher, a teacher of Godly truth, is to make the profound truths of God understandable to you. My job is to make the deep thoughts of God simple, so that even children can get them. And yet, every year, my words simply cannot convey the majesty of John’s Gospel. To truly grasp the meaning of Christmas and to truly enjoy this day you simply have to listen to these bare, naked words which reveal that bare, naked Baby in the manger as your Savior.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. The Word became flesh and lived for a while among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

Amazing words, indeed! And now that you’ve heard them once again, your Christmas joy is complete. Amen