Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Day

Almighty God, grant that the birth of Your only-begotten Son in the flesh may set us free from the bondage of sin; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amem
Father, we are filled with the new light by the coming of Your Word among us. May the light of faith shine in our words and actions. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, for ever and ever. Amen

Just about everybody greets the other with the phrase, “Merry Christmas!” Yet, for many, Christmas is not merry but miserable. Social workers report that their intake numbers increase around the holidays then at any other time of the year. Alcohol and drugs are taken in record amounts either to have a merry Christmas or to avoid a miserable Christmas. For many a merry Christmas depends on the quantity and cost of gifts, the family gathering, and the Christmas party. Few experience the true joy of Christmas because they have not heard the good news told by an angel to shepherds. The source of our joy is found in verse 11.

1. Who is born – “To you is born this day a Savior.” This is good news to those who need a Savior. Who is this new baby? What will he amount to? Christmas should be a time for reflection and meditation. For some Christmas is over in a day and then life goes on as before. If so, Christmas is only a mad rush and a state of confusion. For those who “ponder,” Christmas is a meaningful experience.

A Savior comes to rescue people in danger, preserve those who are threatened by harm, and protect his people from the troubles that surround them. That's what saviors do! That's what Jesus came to do for us. Do not be afraid because God has sent a Savior to us -- Jesus Christ the Lord. He is the One who will never leave us or forsake us. He is the one who will supply all our needs according to his riches in glory. He alone will add to us all the things we need as we seek him and his Kingdom.

2. When is He born? –“This day.” Christmas is a contemporary experience, not an historical observance of an ancient event. It is a bold proclamation of the Gospel at the very hour of Jesus' birth. The time has come for the fulfillment of the prophetic expectation of the Messiah's coming. Fear not. The shepherds' fear is turned to joy as they hear news that a Savior is born. The Messiah! In Bethlehem, the city of David himself!
And so they run down the hillsides into the town and hurry from stable to stable until they find the Child in the manger, just as they have been told. Tucked in that manger, wrapped in swaddling clothes against the cold, is the Savior himself.
3. To whom He is born? – “To you The angels said, “To you is born this day...a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” The emphasis is on “you.” That’s good, because we really do need saving. —Not just the suffering people in Judea back then... Not just the oppressed and impoverished people of Africa... Not just the war weary people of Iraq, the Sudan, and Afghanistan... —but us! And we need not just some “savior figure.” We need the real one, the One whose birth is the reason we’re here today. We need Him in ways our ancestors would never have imagined.

Here are some reasons why: The timeless message of Christmas is this: God believes in you. That’s right. God believes in you. He risked Himself on you. He entered our world as a dependent child, born to a poor girl from Galilee over 2000 years ago. And He is still “God who is with us”.... God who will not forsake us and leave us to seek a substitute salvation in consumerism, drugs, entertainment, political power or some other idol we might choose. It is not Christmas for you unless Christ is re-born in you. As the carol reminds us, “Cast out our sin and enter in, be born in us today.”
The Real Christmas message is this: God has sent a Savior for you. To save you from your sins and to help you in this life -- to lift your burden and ease your fears. That's it! A Savior who is Christ the Lord -- God himself! The world is gripped by fear. But fear's hold has been broken in those of us who believe the angel's words: "Fear not ... for a Savior is born to you -- Christ the Lord!"
“Almighty God, you have made this holy light shine with the brightness of the true Light. Grant that here on earth we may walk in the light of Jesus’ presence and in the last day wake to the brightness of his glory.”
photo found on Pr. F Eckert's blog

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