Christmas! Do we forget the wonder, holiness, and absolute importance of Christmas? Sadly, in this year of the Lord 2021, so many of us do! Oh, yes, we still decorate and we still buy presents by the dozens for the people we love. Yes, it’s a bit different this year because of the supply chain problems. But, we still soldier on.
Yet, there is a very sad and lonely vibration this Christmas. The Lord Jesus was born in Bethlehem so long ago. He is Savior and Lord. This birth, the incarnation, that is, the birth of True God and True Man for our salvation–for our eternal life–is despised by many of our own people. To be despised in not really to be hated so much as to be ignored and deprecated. The birth of Christ is relegated to a season of lights and family gatherings. The deep mystery of God’s love is glossed over by cheap and gaudy human inventions.
The fear of the Lord, which is the very sign of wisdom, is very absent in this day and age. Oh yes, we have a religion, but is it a religion of sentimentality and selfishness. It is a religion that has no salvation, that is only for this life, that has only rules and regulations made up by ourselves and those who would control our free
exercise of the true religion. We say "Oh, how I love Jesus!" But we leave Him in His manger bed, just as ignored as He was when Mary gave birth in that stable in Bethlehem.
God sent Saint John the Baptist to prepare the way for Jesus when He grew up. John did not mince his words. "You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruits in keeping with repentance." John speaks for God! It’s time for us to celebrate the love of God–Christmas!
Dear Christian friend, the Holy Spirit, who lives within you by virtue of God’s love in Christ, is testifying to you today. He would have you to live a life of repentance. That is, the life that depends on God, that recognizes our own sinfulness and weakness, that clings to the cross of Christ, that makes itself known in acts of love and mercy for the sake of Christ. In that life alone is forgiveness and eternal life.
Throw off the trappings of this passing away world. Come into the daylight’s splendor of the birth of Jesus Christ. Let Him give you Himself, crucified and risen, in the Holy Supper. And come often. You need to, for your own sake, and for the sake of your family and friends and neighbors. As they see you coming to worship with the shepherds at Christ’s manger bed, they will wonder and perhaps, by the Holy Spirit, come to believe the Truth that only can set them free. See you at CTK this Saturday, Sunday, Wednesday, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day! Merry Christmas!