Summary: Do we realize that the babe in the manger is THE WORD through whom all things were created?
Concordia Lutheran Church
Christ-Mass December 25, 2009
We Behold His Glory
As Paul did for those he served, this is my prayer for you, that,
I pray that out of the glorious richness of his ( Our Heavenly Father’s) resources he will enable you to know the strength of the spirit’s inner reinforcement - that Christ may actually live in your hearts by your faith. And I pray that you, firmly fixed in love yourselves, may be able to grasp (with all Christians) how wide and deep and long and high is the love of Christ - and to know for yourselves that love so far beyond our comprehension. May you be filled though all your being with God himself! Eph 3:14 (Phillips NT)
Three of the gospels tell the story of the Incarnation. There is Matthew’s gospel, which tells of the announcement, and of the wise men’s visit. It was our theme for last night’s vespers service. There is Luke, the intimate story of young couple – travelling because of the census, finding no room in the inn, and of the lonely shephers, whose life is invaded by a thousand-thousand angels.
And there is John’s gospel, where we realize most clearly that this isn’t the story of a baby – but that it is the story of the Messiah, the Son of God who has reigned at the Father’s side, creating the universe.
Our God becomes…like us…
On the grand scale, this is what makes Christmas – Christ’s Mass – the gathering of God’s people in the presence of His Christ. And even as we look at our nativity sets, with the adoring Mary, and Joseph, realizing that he has to raise the Messiah, and the animals, it is the glory of God who is not just the baby – but fully God that will matter.
(descend to the manger)
Can we realize that the babe in the manger, is God? Can we realize the tiny fingers once flung the stars into place, that the mouth uttered the words that created light, the sun and moon? That spoke again and the words caused the creation of the seas and land – and then again and again, as the world was filled with plants and then animals?
That from the dust He, who would be nourished by young Mary, was there when Adam was fashioned from the dirt of the ground – that He was there when the Father promised Adam and Eve that their son would crush the serpent? That this baby in the manger walked with Enoch, and ate with Abraham, guided Moses and Joshua, who gave wisdom to the Judgest, who inspired David’s songs?
And then, miraculously, was born of a virgin? The one through whom John says all was created?
It perhaps makes more sense, as we realize the people during the time of His life treated him the same way as the people of Israel treated God during their walk through Sinai, and as they did during the judges and kings and prophets.
They did not recognize Him. They came to Him to heal them, to raise their dead, to make the blind see, and the lame walk. They marveled at His teachings, but they did not recognize God in their midst. They continued in sin, even in the presence of the Holy One.
The world still struggles with sin, even as it did before His birth. It still struggles with recognizing Him in His handiwork, the very nature that proclaims His existence. It struggles with His masterpiece- the incredible mosaic of people that He has recreated in their baptism – that is what He calls his masterpiece - us!
And the rejected Him – they didn’t recognize Him, and in their sin and confusion, and fear, they crucified the Lord of glory.
And He let them. Hebrews tells us that it is with joy Christ our Creator embraced the cross, despising its shame, but knowing that we would be, as Paul writes to Titus, washed, regenerated and renewed by the Holy Spirit. This accomplished through His baptizing us, as the Spirit is poured out on us, as we are justified, as we are adopted and made heirs with the hope of eternal life.
That is what John means by those incredible words, that because God was incarnate, because He dwelt among us,
to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
John goes on to indicate the incredible message of the birth, the incarnation
the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.