Sermon – December 25, 2016
Today we celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ, to the virgin Mary. The incarnation of the Son in flesh can hardly be overestimated in either its importance or in its miraculous power. We have been preparing for this celebration by observing advent – the preparation for the coming of Christmas. Today we will look at the importance of advent by looking back over the Scriptures that were highlighted over the past four weeks.
1. Isaiah 9:2-7 The point of prophecy
Isaiah is perhaps the best known OT prophet, not least for his vivid depictions of the coming and suffering of the Messiah. His prophetic voice is important, not only because it lends itself to demonstrating God’s sovereignty over all creation, including the future, but it acts as an anchor for our faith.
2. Matthew 1:18-25 The face of faith
Joseph’s reaction to the news of Mary’s pregnancy is worthy of its own discussion; he demonstrates great restraint and concern for his bride-to-be. However, after the visitation from the angels, Joseph further illustrates his worth. His faith is a great demonstration of what happens when Jesus interrupts our lives. Joseph would have suffered much shame and damage to his reputation. Nevertheless, he considered the calling of God to be of more worth than his standing in community.
3. Luke 1:26-33; 46-49 The genuineness of joy
While the angels announcement to Mary might seem like fantastic news (who doesn’t want to hear that their child will be “great”?) yet think of the weight that this places on her shoulders – uncertain future, great responsibility. Many men have been crushed under less expectations. Yet Mary, initially somewhat reluctant, magnifies the Lord, and realizes the great privilege she has been given. Surely, all generations will call her blessed!
4. Luke 2:8-20 The provision of peace
The meager shepherds, not the mighty king, are visited by the angel, and told of the good news of great joy. Suddenly God’s army appears, not announcing war but peace. This peace is a restricted peace; not to all but on those whom God favors. For the good news of Jesus Christ is this: we, who by God’s own choice, have been graced with his favor, now have a peace that is initiated, brokered, secured, and protected by not only God’s angel army, but by the very power of God himself.
Christmas is many things to many people. But today we celebrate that which we will never fully understand: God in flesh; divinity humbled; the mightiest of warriors weak; the most compassionate come to be hated; the provider in need; the creator born; the sustainer sustained; greatness rejected; holiness identified with sin; pure life born to die, all so that the dead might live again. What else might the redeemed do but rejoice?