Christmas Eve: Peace Came to Earth

Peace Came to Earth

Lessons: Luke 1:27-33, Luke 2:1-20, Matthew 2:1-12
Hymns: LSB 379, 392, 366, 357, 364, 368, TLH 103, LSB 370, 380, 363

Listen to the entire service here (the sermon alone is above).

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

      You heard the account of Jesus’ birth from the children. You heard how Jesus is our peace. You heard that since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Rom. 5:1). The angels sang of the peace Jesus has come to bring. We have peace with God. Peace with God is only possible because the Son of God came into our fallen world to take away our sin. Jesus wasn’t just born to be a cute bundle of joy for one really special family. Instead, the eternal only begotten Son of God joined His divine nature with human nature in His incarnation to become a human being who could render the payment needed for all sin of all people. The God-man Jesus died to take away our sin. Defeating Satan, swallowing up death in victory, and earning our forgiveness, Jesus rose triumphantly from the dead.

      Jesus was sent for a purpose—a mission—a job. If He would have failed, our salvation would not have been earned and we would all endure the same horrible future—eternal punishment in Hell. Had Jesus sinned just once in the smallest of places, He would have failed to accomplish God’s plan of salvation for He would not have had innocent Blood to offer as a ransom payment for our sin. Had Jesus failed to keep the Law perfectly by leaving something out that was required of Him, Jesus would not have been able to credit us with keeping the Law. Had Jesus refused to become a Man or go to the cross, Jesus would not have accomplished the plan of salvation that God decreed to give us eternal life.

      Everything hinged on His righteousness, His perfection, His fulfillment. Just the slightest failure would have resulted in the entire world being judged unrighteous and would have faced eternal death.

      But because Jesus was born in Bethlehem as God had promised and He took our sin away as He planned by bearing our sins in His Body and dying on the cross, we can be filled with joy this night. Our Savior is born! He has come to defeat Satan and turn death into a powerless slumber for the Christian. He has come to bring life and immortality to light. He has come to rescue us and give us His peace.

      Do people still look to Jesus for true peace, for justification, for forgiveness, for security, for comfort, and for love? Or are they looking all over the place for these blessings of God, except where they are readily found in Christ through His Church?

      Even when Jesus was born, not all were looking for these things from the Christ. The innkeeper didn’t seem to care who needed a place to stay that night. The owner of the animals didn’t appear interested in opening his home to Mary and Joseph. So, the holy family stayed with those animals that night.

      While God prophesied that Jesus would be born in Bethlehem and the registration required by Caesar Augustus caused Joseph and Mary to travel back to Joseph’s ancestral grounds, there was no interest on the part of the government to ensure that Jesus would be protected as the Messiah or to grant peace to His people.

      Caesar Augustus was a great and powerful ruler over the vast and powerful Roman Empire. Coins were minted with his image inscribed on them. Yet, he is remembered today not because of his might or greatness. He’s largely remembered in our day only because He was the emperor at the time when Jesus was born. Caesar Augustus died. But Christ Jesus? He lives! He is seated at the right hand of the Father! And He will come back to judge! His judgment for believing Christians is that they will be acquitted of all sin—declared not guilty—judged righteous. Why? Because Jesus has taken away our sin and credited us with His very righteousness. He saves us.

      People today look for peace and security in all sorts of places. Some seek these from the government. Others through the arsenal of weapons and reserves they stash. Others through their intellect. Others by simply ignoring all the threats around them.

      As Christians, we must look for peace where it is truly found: through Christ our Savior. We won’t have peace with the world when we have peace with God. So be it. Let the world rage and chafe; we belong to Christ. Come what may, we have peace with God and the victory is ours.

      To keep this peace with God, you must remain a Christian. Your faith is only sustained by God the Holy Spirit when you are hearing the Word and receiving the Lord’s blessings delivered through Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Therefore, dear friends, keep on coming to God’s house. If you haven’t been here since Easter or even last Christmas, we are glad you are here. Don’t return to your former habits. Do what is right. Return to the Lord. Come often. It’s what all confirmands promised to do. Every Sunday is best. For through Christ’s Church, He delivers to you His peace.

      Have a most blessed Christmas as you celebrate the birth of our Lord! Amen.

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