Sermon for Christmas Eve Christmas Means Your Savior Is Born Luke 2: /24/14b

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1 Sermon for Christmas Eve Christmas Means Your Savior Is Born Luke 2: /24/14b Then the angel said to them, Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord (Luke 2:10-11). Merry Christmas to all! What a holy, joyful night! It s so good to be here, gathered together, to hear God s Word and to offer Him praise for the birth of His Son. It s a delight to be assembled here as the Beautiful Savior church family and to have many of our own family, friends, and loved ones by our sides. We are glad to welcome every visitor also tonight. There really is a unique wonder about this holiday called Christmas. And well there should be, since it celebrates the greatest birthday the world has ever known, the birthday of God s Son! Praise God for the beautiful, worshipful music that our choir and other musicians have offered this evening, too! The glory of Christmas is heard in God s gift of music! The birth of Jesus Christ what a story! What a night! I m glad the Holy Spirit gave us the Gospel according to St. Luke, where we are privileged to know the details about Christmas night. It all started with a decree by the Roman Emperor. Mighty Caesar Augustus in Rome decreed his whole realm should be registered in a census. But back of Caesar s decree was almighty God s will and plan, that as the prophet Micah had said, God s promised One would come, and would come from humble Bethlehem (Micah 5:2). So, being of the house and lineage of David, Joseph with Mary his betrothed journeyed to David s town, to Bethlehem. It can t have been 1

2 an easy journey; Mary was great with child after all. And while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn (Luke 2:6-7). Oh, the beautiful songs that this birth has inspired in Christians over the years! We ve sung some of them tonight, and more will be written in the future! Mary s precious child, laid in a poor manger! How surprising, how wonderful! And then the angels of God! They are called out in huge numbers on this night of nights to bring words and songs to some shepherds keeping watch over their flock[s] (v.8). Those shepherds started out quite terrified but by the end of this night s adventure they were shouting out the praises of God for all to hear. For they themselves had laid eyes on Bethlehem s newborn baby and this was not just any baby. You know, in this whole account of the birth of Jesus it is verses 10 and 11, the angel s words to the shepherds, that unlock the meaning of the story. It is the angel s announcement about the baby who that baby is and what he had come to do that unlocks the whole meaning of Christmas, to put it simply. Then the angel said to them, Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord (Luke 2:10-11). Notice that the angel s message was not just that a baby had been born in Bethlehem. To be sure, every baby is a work of God, a gift of God, a reason for giving praise to God. But Mary s baby was more besides. The angels told the shepherds that a Savior had been born; yes, that to you to those shepherds a Savior had been born. Every day, I 2

3 suppose, somewhere in the world, a future king or president is born, a future artist, future scientist, future athlete. But there has only been one day in all of history on which a Savior has been born. And it was that still and holy Bethlehem night. Savior. That title is the key to understanding Jesus; that s the key to comprehending Christmas. The significance of having a Savior is brought out by the words of the angel when he tells those shepherds, Do not be afraid, for and then the angel goes on to say that their Savior had been born. That little word for shows that the Savior was born to take away the fear of the shepherds. They need not be fearful for their Savior had now come! Standing before God s angels those shepherds feared God s wrath, they feared the glorious light of God s holiness, they feared condemnation, and they were right, for they were unclean and not just on the outside, but within. Nevertheless, God s message to them through the angel was a comforting message: I see you are afraid, but now put away your fear, for this very night I have sent you a Savior! In all that I have sent Him to do for you, He will save you and not only you, but all the people. Every year when Christmastime comes there is one matter of urgent importance, and that is that the real meaning of Christmas be brought home to the people of this world. For you see, no one just automatically knows the real meaning of Christmas. Without God s guidance, we guess for ourselves what Christmas is about. Indeed, apart from the Word of God, what would anyone think about Christmas but that it is a time for decorations, parties, shopping, and Santa Claus? Without condemning any of those things, we affirm based on the Word of God that Christmas goes far deeper. And indeed, without the true meaning of Christmas, the rest is nothing but an empty shell. 3

4 For the real meaning of Christmas is simply this, that God has sent the world a Savior, and that Savior is Jesus Christ, the Lord, born in Bethlehem of Mary, long ago. Christmas, as all the faithful songs and carols will tell you, is about Jesus, the Savior our Savior. Consider that we, all of us here tonight, share a common trait and that is that we are sinful human beings in need of a Savior. Have you ever noticed that you are a flawed person? The reason you can t be the person you ought to be is because you are inherently sinful. You can paint over it all you want, but the reality is there and must be faced. And this has been mankind s plight since the Fall. Although the world is always changing, still the need of the people of the world for a Savior will never change. Sin is a persistent and universal problem, a condition from which we cannot free ourselves. But the Christmas angel declared to the shepherds a message of good news (it was not bad news, it was emphatically good news) good news of rescue from sin through this child in the manger. There is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior (v.11). The angel was telling the shepherds that they should expect one thing from this child: salvation. All God s angels were unanimous in this point. Remember what the angel had said to Joseph in the dream? You shall name [this child] Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins (Matt. 1:21). Salvation through Jesus! What a hopeful word of good news to the weary, the helpless, the fearful, the lost! On Christmas night your Savior was born! Jesus is your Savior. To save is what Jesus came to do. You know, if you are looking to Jesus to be something like a trainer or a coach, assisting you in self-improvement with an eye toward working yourself to be the person you seek to be, give it up. Jesus was not born to be your coach, or your trainer. Jesus was born to be your Savior. 4

5 The magnitude of His work for you is seen at the cross! And the completion of His work for you is seen in the empty tomb! Your sins are forgiven through Jesus death on the cross. New life is yours through Jesus resurrection yes, eternal life in Him. Everyone should learn to cherish that word Savior as a most beautiful word. It sums up the love that God has for you. It sums up the work of God s Son, Jesus, for you. You know, it s often observed that God picked out extremely ordinary people to be first to hear the Christmas Gospel when God sent His angel to those shepherds that night. And so it is. That s God s way. Again this night, He has sent forth the message of His love and salvation to you, for you, to hear, to believe and to cherish. Like the shepherds, you and I may delight with all our heart in the Baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger knowing this, that that Baby was born to be our Savior. Amen 5

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