Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas 1

Matthew 2:13-23
It was good of God

Lord, today we celebrate the entrance of St. Stephen into eternal glory. He died praying for those who killed him. Help us to imitate his goodness and to love our enemies. We ask 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

In the Gospel to be read in churches on the first Sunday after Christmas – we see how good the Father was to His Son and how good He is to us to this very hour. It was good of God

1. It was good of God as He cares for the helpless. Speaking to Joseph He has a deed concern for the children and His mother, “When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. Get up, he said, take the child and his mother.’

A. God cares for all people but especially the helpless. Jesus, by all accounts is a mere infant. As a child of but a few weeks his life could have been so easily snuffed out. Add to the equation the fact that Herod gives the order that all male children two years of age and under are to be systematically killed. A ruthless tyrant, paranoid that a young child will take his place orders a mass execution of the holy innocence. This brutal act of a desperate king shows the plight that Jesus and His earthly family are under. Jesus identifies with those who find themselves frightened and terrified.

B. We live in a fallen world. We live under similar circumstances. During the course of the past year we have seen often, subtle and possibly silent threats rendering each of us just as helpless as the holy family. We need the same protection.
The New Year of 2011 will mark the 10th anniversary of the war on terror. Our college students have not known of a time in their lives when American has not had a physical presence in Iraq.

C. Still there are other forms of fear that can render us feeling helpless. The physician’s office calls to report that the prognosis is not good. As one farming season has come to an end we plan for the next one. How will the market fare? In many circumstances we can feel helpless because we feel powerless. There is nothing we can do. Yet through the changes and chances of this human life the Father continues to care for His own as He orders our days and directs our path. His eye is on the sparrow and His eye is upon you. Cast your care upon Him for He cares for you.

Transition: It was good of God as He cares about the helpless. Yet He does one better. Not only does He identify and care for us He is able to help us in our time of great need.

2. It was good of God as He provides a way of escape as He speaks to Joseph to rise and flee to Egypt. “Get up! He said, take the child and His mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill Him.” [Vs. 13]

A. The Lord provides a place for the holy family to go. In this case it is Egypt. For you the Lord provides a place for you to flee. He leads you to His sure and certain words and promises. When you go back to His Word you find a sure and certain hope that can not disappoint you. When you go to the sure and certain promises they can not disappoint you. There, in His Word, the Savior speaks to you reminding you that he will guide and lead as He always has.

B. Soon we enter a New Year. Who know what will befall us in the next twelve months. Of this we can be certain that the same Lord Jesus who has directed you these past twelve months is with you even now and will walk with you each and every day. In all things; in things begun, continued and ended in His name Jesus will be there. Nothing can separate us from Jesus and His love for us. Nothing can separate us from Jesus and His care.

C. The Lord provided an obedient servant – Joseph to lead Mary and Jesus to safety. His still is in the business of using special means to deliver His mercy and grace. Whenever you and I pick up His Word, when we read it, hear it, study it and meditate upon it He is there to direct us. Likewise, when we come to His table to receive His precious body and blood in the Holy Communion there He is again – giving us the goods- giving us what we truly need; namely the forgiveness of sins, life and salvation.

3. The Father continues to be good to us as He brings us back home – After Herod died an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said; “Get up and take the child and His mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child’s life are dead” [Vv. 19-20]

A. Those who were trying to take the child’s life are dead! He put an end to the parents’ watching and waiting. What they endured came to an end. That which you are enduring will come to an end. Joseph and Mary must have endured many a lonely day and many a sleepless night; living in a foreign land, not knowing what tomorrow would bring. It came to an end with the death of their enemies. Whatever you might be currently enduring will also, in due time, come to an end. The Lord directs your ways. He clears the path in your road. He will bring everything to completion according to His perfect will and in His own time.

B. At last the Lord brought the family back where they belonged. In their case it was the town of Nazareth. For you, it’s heaven. That is your destiny. This is your future. The Savior always directs you.

This is the last Sunday service for the year of our Lord 2010. A New Year soon awaits us. Whatever may befall us we can face each day confidently knowing that our Lord will direct our path. Godspeed child of God – in all you do the Father will direct you – He will bring it to pass.
Schnorr von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS used by permission for private and congregational use

No comments: