December 29, 2019: 1st Sunday after Christmas

Let us pray: Dear Savior, today we rejoice that the mystery of our salvation is so not mysterious anymore!  You have come into this world!  You took on our flesh and blood!  You brought us love beyond telling!  You share in our humanity in order that we can now share in Your glory by faith!  As a result, joy, peace, patience, kindness and forgiveness—they are all the Christmas presents we will ever need!  Amen

GRACE MERCY AND PEACE ARE YOURS FROM THE BLESSED CHRIST CHILD

TEXT:  Galatians 4: 4-7

Dearly Beloved in Christ: 

          Over the past few years I’ve become more and more acquainted with holistic medicine.  I confess that it has made me healthier and happier.  And one key component of that approach to healing the body is: the interdependency of all the organs and parts of the body upon one another.  God made our bodies perfect, before original sin messed it all up.  But, we still retain the residual aspects of co-dependency between organs and the like.  In short, to heal your stomach you need everything connected with it and even things that you don’t think are connected, to work in concert.  Every part of our bodies effect  all the other parts. So, for example,  pain in your knee might well be caused by nerve issues elsewhere, which are related to your sleep patterns, which have their ultimate cause in emotional trauma.  Kind of like that old spiritual about: the knee bone connected to the thigh bone, to the hip bone, to the backbone, etc. 

          Our lesson today reminds us that in God’s creation everything is linked together under the umbrella of His plan of salvation brought to fruition in and by Jesus Christ.  In fact the entire creation ultimately centers around Christ and what He did to save us from the deadly pain of sin.  That’s why Jesus is the central character of the entire Bible and its chief focus. 

                                                                   I

          Here’s the key verse: “But when the time had fully come, God sent forth his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons.” 

          On Christmas Eve I touched on how God used people, ways, and means of fulfilling the truths of His Son’s birth in ironic ways.  Here Paul says the same thing.  “But when the time had fully come.”  Our God is patient. That’s why impatient people like us need to be reminded throughout the OT to: “wait on the Lord.”  God knows the interdependency of all everything when it comes to saving us.  So, God waited and used the arrogance of Caesar Augustus who proclaimed himself a “god” and initiated a census to count his subjects and tax then for his greater glory—God used this to fulfill Jesus’ birth prophecies about Bethlehem.  In conjunction with this, God made sure the Peace of Rome, made possible throughout the known world, was in place to insure the message of Christianity could be easily spread.  He made sure Rome ruled so that their capital crime death sentence, crucifixion, would be used on Jesus, again fulfilling Psalm 22 which describes it.  I could go on, but you start to see the connections and the interdependency, don’t you.  Countless little details came together at exactly the right time to insure His truths would all come to pass.   Yes, “when the time had fully come” is a pregnant sentence, isn’t it? 

                                                                   II

          It was God Almighty behind Christ’s being sent to save us.  God Almighty behind Jesus’ incarnation.  God Almighty behind the burden of having God’s perfect law and the punishment for breaking it—death—being laid upon Jesus, our Substitute.  It was also God Almighty Who devised redemption—Christ’s life for ours—as the only way to balance His perfect scale of justice and for Good to triumph over evil.  Moreover, God Almighty decreed that you and I would be saved, receive Godly adoption as His eternal children, through His gift of faith given to us via the Spirit’s power and consecrated by the blood of Jesus Christ!

          Listen to this: “Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who call out: “Abba, (holy and special and honored) Father.”  And now here’s the rest: “So you are no longer a slave, but a son and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir.”

          Patience is a virtue because patience  is about waiting on the Lord.  It is about trusting the Lord.  And ultimately it is about receiving blessings from the Lord.  My friends,  the entire creation is interdependent with itself and totally dependent upon God.  But Christmas proves that such dependency is good, gracious, and brings eternal peace.  Enjoy those Godly gifts as you bask in the manger’s glow.  Amen

THE PEACE OF GOD….

Pastor Thomas H. Fox 

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