Christmas I, 2015, Bunker Hill
St. John, the Evangelist
There is much else that Jesus did. If it were all to be recorded in detail, I suppose the world could not hold the books that would be written. (John 21:25) But these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. John 20:31
- John is right,
The story of our salvation is too big
For nook, kindle, or onyx boox.
It’s a story of him who is and was and is to come
Who became one of us.
Before the Word filled the expanse of space,
With Galaxies, planets, and piercing quarks,
Before the Spirit hovered over the face of the waters,
When all was darkness and void
And the light had not yet dawned.
The Father said to the Son, “When the time is right I will
Send you to put back together our broken creation.
For our crowning achievement,
The man and the woman, made to be little less than the angels,
Will bring it to wreck and ruin, for they will not listen to our word,
Instead, they will heed the word of the serpent Satan,
A liar from the beginning,
And they will eat the fatal fruit.
One day you will punish Satan that twisting serpent,
With your mighty and powerful sword,
Your cross shaped sword.”
- So God chose a people, from whom would come that son.
He chose them not because they were a great people,
Not even because they were great people.
He started with childless Abram and Sarah
Promising more descendants than
The sand and the stars.
When their offspring fell into Egyptian slavery,
God sent Moses to free his chosen, precious Israel.
God, blew back the Red Sea waters.
He shattered the enemy with his mighty arm and strong right hand
And Israel sang, “Who is like our God among the gods?
“Majestic in holiness, worthy of awe and praise, worker of wonders?”
- But Israel, struggled with God.
One day they were faithful and the next they were ungrateful,
One day they praised the Lord for all his goodness
And the next they cried,
“How long? Will you forget us forever?”
However it was Israel who did the forgetting.
They said, “Where is this God who
Claimed us as his own precious people?
Surely having several gods is preferred
Over this jack-of-all trades God
Who wants to do it all himself.
Look at our neighbor’s gods.
One makes the rain fall,
Another grows the grain, and ripens grapes,
Still others cause the sheep to have lambs,
And women become mothers.
Another speeds across the sky, from dawn to dusk
Lighting the day.
These gods gleam of silver and gold,
Sitting right there on their living room shelf.
And what has our God done for us?
Where is our God anyway? We can’t see him
Who claims he alone is God. Who claims to have
Created the sun, and sunsets, the rain and the rainbow,
And lambs and children.
Israel, like straying sheep went their own way.
- And yet, God stayed true to who he was, is and ever shall be,
The God of salvation for the whole world round.
He remembered his steadfast love and faithfulness.
He remembered his plan founded
From before the foundation of the world.
A virgin, would conceive and bear a son.
His name would be Immanuel, God with us.
The Spirit of the Lord would be upon him, the Spirit of
Wisdom and understanding, counsel and might.
He would delight in doing the will of the Lord.
He would be gentle, neither breaking the bruised nor
Snuffing out the flickering flame of faith.
- And so when the time was ripe,
When Augustus was Caesar and Quirinius governed Syria,
And the puppet king Herod ruled in Judea,
God tore open the heavens and broke into the history of
The descendants of Adam and Eve.
The Word which had said, “Let there be light,”
Became a light which shined in the void of human darkness.
The Word became flesh, one of us.
It happened this way,
A virgin in Nazareth of Galilee, Mary by name
Was overshadowed by the same Spirit that had
Hovered over the waters, when God began
To create the Creation.
He, the virgin’s son, God’s Son, is our life, for he
Had created life. He is
The light that lightens the darkness in humanity.
He is holy, and makes us holy.
His name is
Jesus, for he saves us from our sins.
With God nothing is ever impossible.
- And so it happened, after Joseph and Mary,
Great with child, traveled from Galilee to Bethlehem
It was a matter of taxes.
70 miles or more they walked.
In Bethlehem Mary gave birth to the creator
Of the stars in the heavens
And the microbes in the soil.
She laid our Savior, Christ the Lord, the King, in a manger,
While the heavenly host praised God
From beneath the canopy of the stars.
The angel said, “Fear not” to shepherds
Watching their flocks by night.
He announced good news of great joy for all people,
God the Most High, was born
A baby as helpless as you and me.
He was born under the law of the Lord.
And so according to his own Law
Mary and Joseph took their son, their firstborn,
Who had opened Mary’s womb.
They went up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord.
To present their Lord to their Lord.
- While in the temple, the Holy Spirit who had hovered
Over the waters and overshadowed Mary, rested upon
A righteous and devout man named Simeon.
He came to them and took the child in his arms.
Simeon sang: “Now I am able depart in peace,
According to your promise.
I am holding my salvation;
The One who will bring peace on earth
And peace in heaven.
I am seeing my redemption with my own eyes,
Which God has prepared right here on earth before all peoples,
A light to shine on the Gentiles
And the glory of your people, Israel.”
And Anna, a widow, joined them giving thanks to God.
And telling everyone of him who was the redemption of the world.
When everything had been done,
Mary and Joseph took their son home to Nazareth,
There he grew and became strong, filled with wisdom
And the favor of God was upon him.
- Now God’s beloved, precious and chosen, people of Zion
Study these great works of the Lord,
How he took on our flesh
In order to redeem us.
How he gave his body and shed his blood
That he might restore us to life.
As we enter the New Year, wear the wardrobe God
Chose for you in your baptism. Dress in
Compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline.
Be even-tempered, and content.
Forgive as the Lord forgives you.
And put on love.
Make these your everyday clothes.
And every day do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus,
Giving thanks to God the Father through him.
To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.