December 22, 2013: Children’s Christmas Program

GRACE MERCY AND PEACE ARE YOURS FROM THE HOLY CHRIST CHILD WHO TURNS US INTO SAINTS!

TEXT: Ephesians 2: 8-10: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

Dearly Beloved In the Coming Christ:

Babies. Infants. Newborns. They are helpless. They need adult supervision—big time! They bring smiles to grandparents, protective joy to parents, and pretty much steal the show when they come through the door to any home. But babies also bring some other “gifts” with them. They bring sleepless nights to their parents. They bring worries over their future to the relatives. They bring a hefty price tag. Their very presence throws any household into upheaval! One thing an infant cannot do is buy any of you a Christmas present. They cannot drive to the store, pick out the perfect gift, wrap it, and lay it under the tree. Perhaps that’s because babies are their own gift…..

However, One Baby stands out. One Baby actually does bring a Christmas gift to each of you—today! Of course, I’m talking about the Baby Jesus. And as the children have already informed you this morning:

THE BABY JESUS TURNS US INTO SAINTS!

I

Every baby appears rather saintly when sleeping. But once they awake and let the world know they are up, the saintliness vanishes. Poof! It’s gone amid the crying, the shrieks, the crabbiness, and the little one’s constant striving to impose their will upon you. And more often than not, they actually win the battle of wills, don’t they? Just think, little tiny babies club adults into submission! They are the ultimate purveyors of guilt trips.

But not the infant Christ. He also gets us to submit to His will, but not through coercion or guilt or sheer force. No, He changes us; He turns sinners into saints through grace. He is God’s gift of undeserved love, pure love, to each of you. He was born for this purpose. He lived and died for this purpose. He rose again to make the meaning of grace crystal clear to everyone. And He even sends the Holy Spirit to implant faith within our hearts as they become warmed by His tender gracious touch.

Think of the heartache and sadness that every mere human child eventually brings? Amid the smiles and laughter comes the late night worry.—Why aren’t they home yet? I hope nothing is wrong….. Amid the giggling of gift opening comes the jealousy over another’s present or perhaps times to ungratefulness. Amid the promise of happiness and success lies the foundation of bitter defeat and a listless countenance. Parents have gray hairs because of their kids. Infants grow up and cause lines, wrinkles, and emotional heartache. Yes, no baby is perfect—except One! The Baby Jesus! And His coming erases all such inner stress because He always hands out God’s grace to everyone He meets! What a Baby!

II

All of us were once babies. All of us are guilty of prematurely aging our parents. That’s because all of us are sinners, too. Yet, this gift of God, the Baby Jesus can and does change the equation. He turns sinners into saints! And St. Paul tells us how: “It is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.” Folks, that’s why we’re here today. We’re here to boast in, of, and about the Baby Jesus. His coming at Christmas changed the world for the better and our little corner of it, too, by believing and trusting in Him alone.

Saints are people made holy before God Almighty by and through the Baby Jesus. After all, He’s the eternal Son of God. He makes what we say and do holy. He makes our thoughts clean in God’s sight. All this so that we can let His light shine whether it be in the classroom, on the soccer field, sitting in your cubicle at work, driving the car, shopping at the mall, or making the evening meal. From the majestic to the most humble of human actions, He sanctifies, He “holifies” our every deed. And thus, God smiles at and upon us; and His heart is filled with joy over us. This is the meaning of those words: “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

This Christmas continue to treasure up in your heart this ageless truth: “The Baby Jesus Turns Us Into Saints!” And then Christmas truly will be a little slice of the heavenly bliss that awaits which He has already earned for you. Amen