In the name of the Father and of the +Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.
The birth of this most important baby has become somewhat fairytale like to us. The Christmas Gospel reading we heard tonight is an historical account. It contains all the necessary information to situate it in the realm of fact, not fiction. Yet, with all our love that we have for Christmas, with our favourite shows, and carols, and obsession with shopping, Christmas has become more myth than fact for us. Maybe you even heard Linus' voice as that Gospel account was read.
Or Silent Night. "All is calm?" Only because an exhausted mother has just given birth. She’s got no more energy. It’s all she can do to hold this child. All is bright? In that dark stable-like room where the animals are kept? Where is this brightness coming from? From a thousand LED Christmas lights? No, the carol tells us: "Radiant beams from thy holy face?" Really? Is the baby atomic? Is he not fully human? I’ve never seen any newborns glow. I’ve never baptized a child and seen it glow.
The reason I poke fun at these pious and beloved carols we sing is that while they are trying to remind us who this baby is—God Most High, creator of the universe, in our flesh—they have led us to have a mythical, fantastical, fairy tale view of Our Saviour’s birth. They have led us to almost deny that He took on our flesh, and laid aside His full power as God for a time, so that He might be one of us and suffer and die for us. (Phil. 2:5-8)
This birth is something to remember year by year, for all of history revolves around this birth. The fate of all humanity revolves around this birth. For Jesus Christ is the most important human being to have ever been born. For He is God in our flesh. Fully God, but setting aside His divine power until the time of His death (Phil. 2:5-8) so that He might live and die as one of us. He is fully man, so that He might save mankind. Body and soul. Not just your spirit, but your body too. You see, just as that baby grew, and hugged and embraced, and ate, and drank, and enjoyed the good gifts of God’s creation, so He is a body and soul human being, come not merely to save your soul or spirit, but all of you. Which means that though the corruption of sin pollutes your spirit, causing increasing decay in your body, Jesus came to save you from that.
He gives you glimpses and tastes of that triumph over death here below, while you live your life trusting in Him for your salvation. He has deposited His own spirit into you when you were baptized into Christ. But that deposit, is just a down payment guaranteeing much more to come. For you who are spiritually poor will have the fullness of His resurrection on the Last Day. You will have all of promises to you of not a fairytale ending, but the God-designed paradise your heart longs for. The peace on earth that we all crave. For God the Father has worked it through the flesh of His Son.
In +Jesus’ name, Amen.
A blessed Christmas to you.
—Pastor David Haberstock
Epiphany Lutheran Church
Thunder Bay, ON