Happening Now Blog

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Pastor's Wednesday Message

Christmas gifts?  Many of us don't really need anything for Christmas.  Most of us already have more than enough to enjoy a tolerable balance between happiness and sorrow during our brief stay Earth.  What more do we need?  God sends apostles and preachers to clarify what we lack.  The following excerpt from Martin Luther's Sermon for Christmas Day of 1521 helps us see how Christmas brings the one gift we truly need.

LUTHER'S CHRISTMAS SERMON: "TO YOU CHRIST IS BORN"

"The angel said to them, 'Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all the people; for there is born to you this day a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.'"  Luke 2:10

The Gospel teaches that Christ was born, and that he died and suffered everything on our behalf, as is here declared by the angel.  In these words you see clearly that he is born for us.

He does not simply say, Christ is born, but to you he is born.  Neither does he say, I bring glad tidings, but to you I bring glad tidings of great joy. Furthermore, this joy was not to remain in Christ, but it shall be to all the people.  This faith no condemned or wicked person has…. Christ has a pure, innocent, holy birth.  Humans have an unclean, sinful, condemned birth.  … For this purpose Christ willed to be born, that through him we might be born anew.

O, this is the great joy of which the angel speaks.  This is the comfort and exceeding goodness of God that, if anyone believes this, they can boast of the treasure that Mary is their rightful mother, Christ their brother, and God their father.  For these things actually occurred and are true, but we must believe.  This is the principal thing and principal treasure in every Gospel.  Christ must above all things become our own and we become his.  This is what is meant by Isaiah 9:6, "Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given."  To you is born and given this child.

Therefore see to it that you do not treat the Gospel only as history, for that is only transient; neither regard it only as an example, for it is of no value without faith.  Rather, see to it that you make this birth your own and that Christ be born in you.  This will be the case if you believe; then you will repose in the lap of the virgin Mary and be her dear child.  But you must exercise this faith and pray while you live.  You cannot establish it too firmly.  This is our foundation and inheritance, upon which good works must be built.

Thus says Martin Luther.  And I say unto you, when you worship on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, forget about the goodies by the tree and the savory treats in your tummy.  Forget what you have and focus on what you need: the Christ, the whole Christ, and nothing but the Christ.  Then thank God that the Christ has been sent to you.  Grab hold with all the faith you can muster.  And trust that in Christ's birth you also discover the secret gift of your own.

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Sunday, December 27th
One Service at 10:00 am
followed by "bringing in the New Year" brunch
please bring a potluck side dish; fruit, sweetbreads etc