Sermon for Christmas Day – 12.25.23

+ The Nativity of Our Lord: Christmas Day – December 25th, 2023 +

Isaiah 52:7-10; Hebrews 1:1-12; John 1:1-18

Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church

Milton, WA

 

“The Sacred Surprise”

 

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

Watching children at Christmas is a beautiful, exciting thing to witness. You see the delight on their faces when they wake you up early Christmas morning. You watch them peal back the layers of paper and tape as they discover the mystery that’s been hidden under the tree or around the house for weeks. You hear the surprise in their voices at something unexpected.

 

This Christmas morning, John’s gospel does something similar for us. Though John takes us deeper than presents under the tree. He tells us that the one who made the tree was also made man. He tells us of a gift that does not fall apart, fade, or fail…but was made flesh for you.

 

This morning, we sit together as God’s children, by the tree, around his table, and we unwrap the gifts God gives in his word and promise. “In the beginning was the Word; and the word was with God and the Word was God.” Layer by layer he unwraps the gift; he unboxes the mystery; he reveals a sacred, sublime, and surprising paradox:

 

The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.

 

We hear it so often that we forget just how unexpected and surprising of a gift this truly is. The eternal God is man to deliver man back to God. The infinite becomes incarnate. The Creator comes into his creation and takes on our humanity. He who is worthy of all honor comes in great humility to save you.

 

John takes us to the heart of Christmas, an ancient yet blessed paradox: the greatest gift the world has ever received arrived in obscurity, in a backwater town, in ancient Israel. The mighty God rested in the arms of his mother Mary.

 

And when you look at the whole Scripture story, God always seems to do things this way, the opposite of what we expect – or deserve. God so often baffles and bewilders us…so that we would always know that his salvation rests in his hands, not ours.

 

So the prophet Isaiah preaches the holy God who inhabits eternity yet he comes and dwells with the humble and contrite. Elijah learns that the celestial conductor of wind and earthquake and fire comes before him in a gentle, still small voice. Micah foretells that the King of kings will arrive not in a castle, but in that little town of Bethlehem. Ponder the mystery, the joy, the sacred surprise of Christmas:

 

For you… Man’s maker was made man, that He, Ruler of the stars, might nurse at His mother’s breast;

that the Bread might hunger, the Fountain thirst, the Light sleep, the Way be tired on his journey;

that the Truth might be accused of false witness, the Teacher be beaten with whips, the Foundation be suspended on wood;

that Strength might grow weak;

that the Healer might be wounded;

that Life might die.

 

All of this he did for you.

 

How beautiful are the feet of him who bears good news, and is God’s good news in the flesh. In Christ God has feet that will walk upon water, that will gather the cursed dust of the earth, that will be wet with repentant tears, that will stumble and make their way through the city streets of Jerusalem, up a hill, and onto a cross. For the word became flesh for you.

 

In Christ, God has hands that remove sin’s stain, hands that bring healing, hands that are lifted up in blessing over bread and wine to give you his body and blood, hands that were lifted up on the tree for you. the word became flesh for you.

 

In Christ, God has eyes that see your suffering, your sorrow, your tears…eyes that were closed in death, but opened again in resurrection on the third day. The word became flesh for you.

 

Rejoice with John this day that God is on earth, He is among men, not in the fire nor amid the sound of trumpets; not in the smoking mountain, or in the darkness, or in the terrible and roaring tempest giving the Law, but manifested in the flesh, the gentle and good One dwells with those He condescends to make His equals! God is in the flesh, not operating from a distance, as did the prophets, but through Him human nature, one with ours, He brings back all mankind to Himself.

 

Praise the Lord of the paradox. Rejoice in the surprise of all surprises.

 

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life,[a] and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.

The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him.11 He came to his own,[b] and his own people[c] did not receive him. 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son[d] from the Father, full of grace and truth.

 

A blessed Christmas day to each of you…

 

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

Beautiful Savior

is a traditional Lutheran Church, faithful to God's Word and His Sacraments. We equip God's people to serve, love, and encourage one another as we grow in our personal relationship with Christ. We reach out to the community as beacons of light, sharing the love of God in Christ Jesus, our Savior.

Church Office Hours

Monday - Thursday 8:30am-3:30pm

Friday 8:30am-11:30am

The office is closed on Fridays during the summer months of June, July, and August.

Preschool Office Hours

August - May
Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday
8:30am-12:30pm

By appointment only June and July

Contact

Address
2306 Milton Way
Milton, WA 98354
Phone
(253) 922-6977
Fax
(253) 922-6977