Glory to God in the Highest and…
The Mass of Christ!
† In the name of Jesus! †
May you know, and realize, the grace of God our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, is yours!
One birth – among 32000 per day 480 per minute, one every 7 seconds in the USA.
Yet, the world celebrates one birth… this day.
News for the whole world
Three times the population of Anza each and every day. Imagine, over 32 thousand babies are born into this world today. Over 480 children born every 60 seconds. Every 7 seconds, just in the United States, a baby leaves the womb.
Right now, there are over 6 Billion, 500 million people alive. Of that 6 billion, 500 million people, at least 5 billion – and probably closer to 6 billion, know that today is Christ-mas. They may not know all the details, but I dare say there are few places in the world that are not affected by a day, set aside, to celebrate this one birth.
One little baby, lieing in a feeding trough for animals. IN a country that even today is looked down on by most of the world. What difference could this baby make? What was the big deal about this birth? Why should we it matter more than the other 20,000 births that day? Why should it matter more than the millions and billions of babies born since?
Why? Why does God deserve glory for this one birth?
Why do the shepherds make known
Why does Mary treasure these things?
Even the immediate reaction to the birth was one that appears shocking. It is hard to come up with a modern parallel to the shepherd of that time, perhaps it would be best described as the itinerant farm workers, those people that live in shacks and squalor, working for their next meal. Imagine them coming into Anza, and telling everyone that while sleeping in the fields, angels came, and told them of a miraculous birth – the birth of one who would lead the world?
All who heard, our gospel reading says, wonders about what they were told by the shepherds. Perhaps they had too much wine out there in the fields, Perhaps their isolation had made them a little wacko? That is what I think of when I read “wonder” there. Yet, the word is the other kind of wondering, to marvel, to be amazed. The shepherds were believed by the people they told about the glorious site, and about the incredible words of the angels.
I have to wonder, if the innkeeper was told, what his reaction would have been?
Scripture tells us, that Mary treasured these things, and thought about them often. Despite the miracle of the childbirth, despite the appearance of the rough, just from the field shepherds. Angels? Singing incredible praises? About this, my miraculous baby?
All this, for one single birth?
Why would angels sing such incredible praises? What caused all to be so awestruck, at something so common as the birth of another baby in an impoverished land?
Born to us, a Savior!
Timothy defines it well!
Redeems us from lawlessness
Purify himself a people
Zealous for good works!
Isaiah kicks in
He upholds it with justice
I think we start to see what makes this birth different, in the way it is announced to the shepherds. Hear again that wondrous announcement,
Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord!
There is the gospel, the good news of great joy! There is a baby born this day! Even though on this planet, there are 32,000 other births this day, for the parents, and grandparents only this one brings the joy that a birth can bring. The hardest hearts can melt and find joy in the birth of a son or daughter, or grandson or granddaughter. There is awe, first that the mom got through the ordeal, then that the dad didn’t pass out, or crash the car on the way, or get lost. But, there it is, a new life.
Yet this baby was not to bring joy only to his parents and family, but according to the angel – the good news of great joy, was for ALL THE PEOPLE. All of the people of the world would find joy in this birth, a joy that Peter describes as inexpressible joy!
You see it in the phrase as well – unto you is born – not just to Joseph and Mary, but to us, humanity. This baby doesn’t bring joy to just one family, to just one clan, but brings joy to every people, every language group, every nation.
Because, from before the earth’s foundations were laid, this baby was on a mission. To accomplish something incredible, here is the way the Apostle Paul shared the mission of this one, who was born so simply,
14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.
This baby, came into the world with that mission – to redeem us from all “lawlessness”, a nice way of saying that while we know God’s law, and as individuals, and as the human race we flaunt it, and do what we want. It is not hard, to look at the world and see it rejoicing in sin, as opposed to rejoicing in what is good. Yet, even looking at the world, we Christians sometimes sin, as we take pride that we are better. In truth, we are only better, because we have faith that our sin is forgiven, whereas the world doesn’t know that…yet.
Jesus came into this world, to redeem us from sinful lives, as Paul says to the church in Corinth,
1 Corinthians 6:9-11 (ESV) 9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
Yet Jesus came to redeem us from that – He came to purify us, to make us Holy, and righteous, in Him. It is an incredible job that the Jesus does to us, a re-creation, a taking of that which was not holy and remaking it holy! We begin to desire doing what it right and good, over what serves ourselves. We begin to see others in a different light, as people who need to know, that Christ has come, that they no longer need to live in slavery to sin, but that God has rescued and redeemed them as well, in Christ’s life and death!
The Old Testament reading this day, describes it a bit differently – but it is still the same – Jesus came to establish a kingdom, giving it His righteousness, and still maintaining justice.
Amazing! All through a baby that was born among 20,000 other babies born that day in the world!
There is the gospel
Peace for all with whom the Father is pleased!
In the bulletin, this sermon was titled, Glory to God in the Highest… and….
That is what I think we need to focus on today, and every morning we are blessed with life.
That yes, a baby was born into the world, a birthday we celebrate, on December 25th each year. But to be honest, if all we look at is the birthday, the day is meaningless. It is not worth celebrating – not worth the incredible work of decorating, and cooking and all the cleaning that it requires. It wouldn’t be worth all the work that Arlene does on the organ, and that I do preparing sermons and such.
The key to it all comes in the second half of the praise/prayer of the angels.
And on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased.
To know we have peace with God, that He is pleased with our lives, not because we are perfect, but because we have, in faith, received the incredible gift of Jesus, and His righteousness, which He credits to us.
We, you and I, have complete peace with God, because a baby was born that would later die on a cross. Because that Baby, named Jesus, gives us the ability to trust in Him. The ability to trust the promises in His word, to trust the work He does in our baptism, and the work that He does, in giving us His Body, and Blood.
That is a gift that goes beyond any understanding.
That is what we need to survive in this world!
And may that peace of God, guard your hearts and minds, in Christ Jesus!