ST. STEPHEN’S EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH
Striving to speak God’s saving truth in love. Ephesians 4:15
St. Stephen’s Evangelical Lutheran Church and School | Beaver Dam, WI | 920.885.3309
Sermon on Isaiah 52:7-10 for Christmas Day, December 25, 2017.
Soon, if it has not happened already, we will start to hear all about the presents a person received. Children will proudly boast of their new toys. Clothes will be shown off. New gadgets will be set up for us. It answers one of the biggest questions asked at this time of the year, “What did you get for Christmas?” Most people are not ashamed to proudly boast about or show off their new gifts.
The excitement will soon wear off. Toys will lie forgotten in the mountain of the toys of Christmas’ past. Clothes will be exchanged because they do not fit or are not the right style. Technology gadgets will have hiccups as a person tries to get everything all set. It doesn’t take long for a person to proclaim what they what next year. Their minds go from this Christmas right to the next big thing coming up.
Soon the Christmas decorations will be taken down. The Christmas carols will be put away until next year after all the next holiday is right around the corner. It all becomes a memory. Ah, yet we cannot forget about the biggest message of Christmas. This message has not changed for thousands of years. We hear about it all the time. It might often even become old hat. We will not want to pack this message away only to be pulled out again next year, because this message rings out all year long.
Proclaim the Christmas Message
Isaiah wrote about a release. It had not happened yet, but Isaiah pictured it like it already had. The messengers brought with a joyous message. Their words brought joy to a nation sitting in exile. Their message spoke of hope in bleak darkness. The proclamation gave strength to the weary. Even though Isaiah wrote about deliverance from an enemy nation, these words also speak about our Christmas joy.
The proclamation goes out. Did you catch it? It is an important message. The messengers proclaim peace to the world. It sounds good, doesn’t it? We hear a lot about peace at this time of the year. We want opposing sides to come to a consensus for a common good. Relationships cause stress maybe even as we have to share a room with someone we do not get along with. If only there would be peace. Heartache and hardships scroll across the news headlines. Peace is needed.
All we want is peace. However, this peace seems so elusive. Peace has come. The angels sang about this peace to the shepherds. The shepherds hurried away excitedly to see the Christ child. The wise men came with joy to see the Prince of Peace born for all the world. Jesus proclaimed peace to his disciples after his resurrection. It all stemmed from the work that Jesus came to do.
Jesus came to bring peace between us and God. God’s anger burned against us. We sinned. We promised that we would never do that again, but it did not take long for us to go back on our word. Our temper flared. Our actions went against God’s commands. We should not have peace.
Listen to the proclamation of peace. Jesus brings peace. This child comes in order that he might die. He would one day offer his life upon the cross. His death brings peace between us and God. We have the forgiveness of sins. We are freed from death. The devil no longer has power over us.
We tend to make Christmas this pretty holiday. People place nativity scenes as decorations. Mary and Joseph adoringly stare down at the baby Jesus. We think of Jesus as this cute little baby. It is a time we can concentrate on something joyous and happy.
This is good. However, we also need to look a little bit deeper at Christmas. Yes, this child came. Mary and Joseph looked down at the Word who became flesh. At the same time the thoughts of all people also looked forward. This child would one day die. It would not be a natural death. His arms would be stretched upon the cross. His pain would be unbearable. This is the reality of Christmas.
This is also the good tidings Christmas brings. The proclamation goes out that Jesus had come. The promises of old had been fulfilled. Many people did not listen to this news when Jesus was born. All the people who came to Bethlehem to be taxed failed to greet Jesus. Many of his own people rejected him as the Messiah.
The message today remains muted. People want to focus on the things of this world rather than the birth of Jesus. We want to hold onto Jesus as a little baby, because we do not want him to face the cross.
The glad tidings go out. We rejoice that our Savior has come. This is the only way that salvation could come to us. This is the best gift that anyone could give. We are free. Our King has come. Our King reigns still. Death could not hold him. He would not remain a little baby. He is our Messiah. He is the one that came to bring peace to us.
This proclamation declares salvation to the world. This is the good news of Christmas. Our freedom from sin, death, and the devil has been won. Christ did it all. The messengers proclaim this news to the masses. The message brings comfort to all who hear it.
We still proclaim this message. Yesterday we had the opportunity to come and hear the children from our school proclaim that message. Last night at the Candlelight service and again this morning we hear it. For four weeks our hearts prepared to meet Jesus. The message came.
We do not want to let the message go. The proclamation does not stop just because Christmas will soon be ending. The heart of the message continues to go out. We are the messengers. We know the wonderful message. We sing it like the angels did to the shepherds. We worship as the wise men. We preach the message to all.
All people need to know it just like we do. All people need to hear about peace. They need good news. They need to hear salvation coming from Jesus. This is the Christmas Message we need to proclaim. Amen.