“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).
– Matthew 1:23 ESV
The importance of that first Christmas cannot be overstated. The God who created all that exists, the God who maintains the universe and every micro-organism at the microscopic level, he became man to dwell among us! As one with us! As one who wanted to be known by us, as one who desired to show us his loving mercy and great compassion!
That’s Jesus! God with us! Sure, he was just a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and laid in a manger that first Christmas night, but still, all the power of the cosmos was maintained and held together in his tiny little hand. Such wonder! Such new-born peace! And it all came to pass so that God might bless us in the most wondrous way possible: Jesus was born to save us from our sin!
As shepherds were out in their fields at night keeping watch over the sheep who could so easily be attacked by wolves or taken by thieves, an angel host appeared to them: “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger,” (Luke 2:10-12 ESV).
‘Fear not!’ they said. ‘Good News’ they brought. A Saviour has been born, Christ the Lord... and its all ‘FOR YOU!’
For you! Jesus came down from his eternal throne in heaven to save you! For you! Jesus took up human flesh and blood just like ours so that he might not only experience life as we do, but in that flesh and blood, offer the final and perfect sacrifice for all our sin! For you! Jesus entered our sin-stained human race to end our greatest fear: Death itself! For you! Jesus came to give you and me real, eternal peace!
And I hope you take note of the special direction the angels gave those poor shepherds. They didn’t just come to tell them a message of good news and take off; they told them the good news of their Saviour, and where to find him! In swaddling cloths, lying in a manger, down in Bethlehem! And as busy those shepherds were to care for the sheep, they hurried off in the middle of that dark night to see the wonder in the manger. Why?
Because Jesus isn’t just a God who imparts ideas and information. Jesus is the God who became man so that he might truly be with us! Among us! Here on earth for us and for our salvation! Jesus is not a God afar off. And even still, he is not a God afar off. Because of Jesus’ incarnation and his sending the Holy Spirit to be our Comforter, our God is always with us!
And where has the Holy Spirit promised to bring Jesus to us in our day and age? In his Church! For the Word of God is Jesus’ manger still, wherein we see our Lord as he has offered himself up for our salvation! In our baptism, the Holy Spirit unites us in Jesus fulfilling his promise: “Lo! I am with you always unto the end of the age” – Matthew 28:18-20! And of course, in his sacramental feast the Holy Spirit empowers Jesus Words to do as he said: “Take eat; this is my body. Take drink; this is my blood. Given and shed for you for the forgiveness of your sin” – Matt 26:26-29, Mk 14:22-25, Lk 22:14-23, & I Cor 11:23-26.
Jesus is still with us, right here in his Father’s House! And its here that the Holy Spirit brings us every good gift through the Word and Sacraments our Lord has given to us for our good! By these means, our Triune God calls us to ‘Fear not!’ the worries of this present world and age. Put your trust in God! For we are never alone! God is with us, and because of Jesus, we can know real, everlasting peace!
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth
among those with whom he is pleased!”
– Luke 2:14 ESV.
A blessed Christmas to you all!
In Christ’s service,
Rev Joel V Kuhl, Pastor
Redeemer Lutheran church