The Nativity of Our Lord: Christmas Day
December 25, 2021
Text: John 1:1-18
“Joy to the world, the Lord is come!” (LSB 387). The Word that was with God in the beginning, the Word that is God, the eternally begotten Son of the Father, this Word has become flesh, conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, to be our Lord, to make His dwelling with us, to set up His Tabernacle among us, to save us. He comes in our flesh to bear our sins, and to die for them. And to be raised in our flesh for our justification and eternal life. Therefore, joy! Let the whole earth receive her King. Indeed, He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, yet the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. They did not believe in Him. They rejected His salvation. They rejected Him all the way to death. But to all who did receive Him, to those who believed on His Name, He gave the right to become children of God, born not in ordinary fashion, but of God, by water and the Word, by the Spirit sent from above. Let every heart, then, prepare Him room. And let heaven and nature sing! “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork” (Ps. 19:1; ESV). The sun and moon and shining stars, the great sea creatures and all deeps, “fire and hail, snow and mist, stormy wind fulfilling his word!” Mountains, hills, fruit trees and cedars, beasts and all livestock, creeping things and flying birds, kings and peoples, princes and all rulers, young men and maidens, old men and children, the very angels and the hosts of heaven… “Let them praise the name of the LORD,” for “He has raised up a horn for his people, praise for all his saints, for the people of Israel who are near to him. Praise the LORD!” (Ps. 148).
“Joy to the earth, the Savior reigns!” Though there are many who claim this throne for themselves, this is the eternal truth. Let them persecute. Let them malign. Let them forbid our doctrine and faith. Our Father in heaven is on His throne, and with Him, the Lamb who has been slain, who stands nonetheless, risen, alive. He rules. The nations rage and the peoples plot in vain, but He who sits in the heavens laughs (Ps. 2). And the faithful, whom the Lord has gathered to be His own, these men, women, and children, their songs employ in praise of His Name, and in confession of His saving Gospel. And the very fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains repeat the sounding joy. If the children are silent, the very stones will cry out. For the Creator has come into His creation to restore it and to heal it of its brokenness.
Therefore, dear Christian people, “No more let sins and sorrows grow Nor thorns infest the ground.” Repent of your sins. Forsake your iniquities. Christ, the Savior, has taken them away. All of them. Every last one of them. No matter who you are. No matter what you’ve done. As high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His steadfast love to those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed your transgressions from you (Ps. 103:11-12). He applies His salve to your sorrowful wounds, the oil of His Spirit, the aloe of His Gospel. He feeds you the medicine of His Body and Blood. “He comes to make His blessings flow Far as the curse is found.” To the ends of the earth. To every single person in this assembly. And in all the dark corners of your own heart and life. The old and the fallen is passing away. “Behold,” says the Lord, “I am making all things new” (Rev. 21:5).
“He rules the world with truth and grace.” St. John and his brother apostles were eyewitnesses. They saw His glory on the Mount of Transfiguration, His eternal divinity shining through His humanity, “glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). “And from his fulness we have all received, grace upon grace” (v. 16), blessing upon blessing, forgiveness of sins, eternal life and salvation, the Holy Spirit, sanctification, Christian love, a home and a family, everything needful for this body and life, and even more besides. Heaven. The Promise of resurrection. And, though no one has ever seen God, the revelation of the Father in the Person of His Son. This is He who comes, and who rules, even our Lord Jesus Christ. And the nations, the Gentiles, you, prove the glories of His righteousness, that in His saving work for you, the wonders of His love, God declares you righteous, justified, freely on account of Christ, by faith alone, apart from works, grace upon grace.
Beloved, joy to you. The Lord has come. This will be the sign for you. You will find Him wrapped in bread and wine and laid upon the Altar. You will eat His Body and drink His Blood, and He will make His Tabernacle within you. The Light is coming into the world. And He is coming into you. “Repeat, repeat the sounding joy.” Christ the Savior is born. Merry Christmas. In the Name of the Father, and of the Son X, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.