In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.
So repent of how you ignore those thoughts that you need more God in your life. Repent of the lies you tell yourself that you don’t need God, that you don’t need a saviour. Repent of how you don’t come to receive the forgiveness of your sins from the only source God has revealed: the body and blood of His Son hung on a cross, laid on an altar for you to eat, proclaimed to you, and washed over you in Baptism. Repent if these thoughts seem repugnant to you. For forgiveness is yours in the flesh of this blessed Child. He is your peace with God. He is your freedom from God’s warfare on you.
For, in truth, this God whom the shepherds worshiped, whom this day is about, is a horror to us in our worldly wisdom. We think His morality is passe and quaint. We think He doesn’t know how to take care of us, or that He doesn’t have the power to do so if we actually took Him at His Word. And to top it off, He has the gall to say you are a sinner, that you deserve death. And our human wisdom tries to justify itself, saying, “Do you know the difficulties I have had to overcome? Do you know the inner struggles, the abuse, and torment I have suffered?"
Yes. He does. That is why He sent this baby to be eaten by you. For this baby did not stay a baby, but came to grow and live in perfect, complete justice, righteousness, and love. And loving He died for all the shame that has been poured out on you. For the things that have soiled you, tormented you, made you ashamed of yourself, your family, and your choices. He came to make it right by taking it all into Himself. To take it from you and kill it. Thereby killing you. It is His way. The way of death that leads to life.
For this baby did not come merely to die but to rise again and bring life and immortality to light. For this baby is the saving gift of God which has been shown to all mankind. Shown all around the world held up to be received at altars like this one every Sunday for you not only to see, but to eat and drink into yourself. Putting His life, His Body and Blood into you.
And blood is powerful. Blood is your life force. Blood cleanses toxins from you. His living, life-giving blood cleanses the things that toxify your soul. Better than any juice fast, 30 day cleanse, or sauna sweat, better than any medication. He cleanses your conscience from your dead works purifying you from the inside out.
This baby, this gift of God teaches you to say no to the things that soil you again. For this baby changes you. This baby shines His cleansing light into the dark corners of your soul. He stares down the darkness within you and dispels it with His light. He sucks out the venom of the evils done to you and done by you taking it into Himself and putting it to death in His own body on the cross.
He’s come into this world for you. To shine His light on you. To give you both repentance and forgiveness in His name. And more than that, to give His body and blood to you to eat and drink. That’s the meaning of the sign of this baby laid in a manger. Peace with God is yours. Yours in the Word and Sacraments given out every Sunday in this place.
So this year, like the shepherds believe what you’ve heard, and go and see this child so that you might eat Him, and receive Him all through out this next year. Keep Him in your life for it is His way. His way that He purifies you and gives you peace continually.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.
—Pastor David Haberstock
Epiphany Lutheran Church,
Thunder Bay, ON