Christmas Day: Christ’s Birth as Our Comfort

Lessons: Exodus 40:17-38, Titus 3:4-7, John 1:1-18
Hymns: 375, 391, 382, 389, 376, 383

      Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

      Today’s Gospel is written by the Apostle John. He was part of our Lord’s inner circle of apostles. It is believed that the apostles all died a martyr’s death, except for John himself. His life, though, was not without difficulty. As an elderly man, he was exiled to the island of Patmos for faithfully preaching the Gospel.

      During some of the hard times he endured, God revealed to John a glimpse of Heaven—a series of signs revealing Jesus Christ to John. He recorded these visions in the book of Revelation.

      John’s writings are very simple in that the grammar and vocabulary are the easiest to read out of any New Testament author in the original Greek. Yet, the concepts he covers are some of the deepest and most profound. How can his words be so simple, yet so insightful? This is, in part, due to John’s age. He’s wise with years and has many years of experience serving as a fisher of men. Also, he is, of course, guided by God the Holy Spirit.

      John’s Gospel focuses on the same Person as Matthew, Mark, and Luke. They are focused on Jesus, for He alone could earn our salvation and grant us access to eternal life. No one else could bear the world’s sin in his body, shed innocent blood as the ransom payment for our sin, defeat Satan, or rise gloriously from the dead.

      And so, the prophets of the Old Testament foretold our Lord’s coming, the Holy Evangelists wrote of our Lord’s incarnation, life, and works, and the apostles and pastors who followed all preached Christ and Him crucified and risen for the forgiveness of sins.

      This is for our comfort. The eternal God has made His dwelling among us. He tabernacles among us. He has called us according to His will to receive Him. He is in control of the events of this world.

      John begins His Gospel with our Lord’s incarnation. He teaches that Jesus is not a creation of God, but that all creation was created through Jesus. He teaches that this eternal God who made all things has now come into the world. In Him is life, and the life is the light of men. He made His dwelling among us. We beheld His glory, full of grace and truth. For all who believe in Him, He gives them the right to become children of God. From His fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.

      These are truly profound teachings. And they are comforting truths concerning our Savior and what He has done for us and for our salvation.

      John does not give us the familiar account of our Lord’s birth as we heard last night in Luke 2 with the shepherds learning of Christ’s birth through the angels and then they go to worship Him. John does not give us the account of the Magi as we hear in Matthew 2. Instead, John speaks of Christ and His divinity. In the beginning was the Word. The Word is God. And John reports to us that this eternal Word became flesh and tabernacled among us. God became Man.

      Our human reason cannot comprehend this reality. How can God take up human flesh and become fully human, yet remain God? How can God the Son become Man but not God the Father and God the Holy Spirit? How can Jesus, who is now both God and Man, remain God and Man to all eternity with His full divinity and full humanity at the same time?

      This is all a mystery. And so, John, in his simplicity, reports to us this most amazing mystery. And yet, this reality is, as I already stated, for our salvation, which is truly comforting.

      God had to send His Son to die in our place. We could not render to God the required payment to be reconciled with God. For we are tainted by sin. God requires that something perfect be offered to make amends for our sin. He required that the perfect offering be sacrificed. Since we are sinners and everything in creation is corrupt with sin, there is nothing in this Earth that could possibly be offered to meet God’s demands for justice. So, God sent His only-begotten Son to come into this world and pay for our sins on the cross. He died there, shedding His innocent Blood on our behalf, bearing our sin in His Body. He did what no one could do—render the perfect offering of His life to make amends for our sin—making the payment required to be reconciled with God our Father.

      Because Jesus has come to do this, we celebrate Christmas with great joy. We rejoice that God fulfilled His promise to send Jesus as our Savior. We rejoice that God humbled Himself to become human. God in flesh. The incarnate deity. True God, begotten of the Father from eternity and true Man, born of the Virgin Mary. He’s our Lord.

      Through this forgiveness earned by Jesus on the cross, our debt is paid, and we have the right to become children of God. This salvation is comforting. Knowing that God is our dear Father is also comforting.

      At Christmas, we are filled with holy joy that God sent His Son in human flesh to redeem us from the peril of our sins. What joy! What comfort! What blessing!

      Yet, this year for Christmas, many do not find it to be all that happy. Some have lost loved ones. Others are separated from loved due to precautions from the pandemic. Many still find themselves stressed out from all the things that are typically done during the holiday season.

      But while this may not be a happy Christmas for all, let it be a comforting Christmas. Christ has come into this fallen world. God took up His residence among us. He did so to bring us the cure for all that ails us—for all that brings suffering and pain—for all that replaces gladness with sadness.

      As much as we anxiously wait for a cure for the pandemic, it won’t solve all our troubles. Death will still knock at our door. People will remain sinners and who will dishonor those in authority, hurt others, engage in lustful acts, pilfer others, gossip, and covet. Yet, we still do pray that these vaccines will work or that God will, by His miraculous hand, remove this pandemic from the face of the Earth.

      But the true cure—and the true hope—that we need is already found in the Christ Child, whose holy birth we observe. For He has come to take our sin away and grant us the gift of everlasting life. In Him, we are God’s children. God will take care of us and will ultimately bring us to live with Him eternally in Paradise. He will shepherd us through all life’s difficulties and will bring us to Himself in Heaven. He is our constant stay and our help in time of need.

      God grant that He guides us by the Holy Spirit, that we will take our eyes off ourselves and fix them on Jesus, who is the author and perfector of our faith. God grant that we focus this Christmas season not on the things that would rob us of happiness, but instead that we may focus on Christ Jesus who alone brings a cure for the illness of our sin. God grant that we dwell not on our sorrows, but on the joy of Christ’s birth, the forgiveness He offers, His resurrection, and the eternal salvation He has secured. God grant that we find joy in being children of God who draws us to our heavenly home and will raise our bodies to perfection on the Last Day. For Christ our Lord, who was sacrificed, lives. He is risen. And in Him we have life.

      Have a blessed Christmas. May you find joy and peace in believing. Amen.        

     The peace of God which passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus to life everlasting.  Amen