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Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014

A savior is born

Friday, December 21, 2012

We celebrate Christmas every year with awe and wonder, as we consider what really happened 2,000 years ago in a stable on the other side of the world. How incredible it must have been to see God's plan of redemption coming to life; to witness history and the Bible blending together as one. The birth of Christ was the fulfillment of so many "old" Old Testament prophecies; God's Word was coming to life! Things were beginning to happen just as He had proclaimed. The prophet Jeremiah wrote, "'The days are coming,' declares the LORD, 'when I will raise up to David a righteous Branch, [the Christ-child] a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land... This is the name by which he will be called: The LORD Our Righteousness.'"

The star of Bethlehem shone upon God's truth and Light -- the infant born of Mary was God and King. This child was born of royal birth. A direct descendant from King David and a direct descendant from God Himself. Fulfiller of all truth -- Ruler over all things as 1 Corinthians 15 states, "For [Christ] must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death ... For [God the Father] has put everything under [Christ's] feet, ... so that God may be all and in all." O Christ, our Lord and master, You were born so lowly, and yet holiness enveloped You. Born so humbly, and yet victory surrounded You. Rich in Blessing, of Royal birth, You shine with God's own truth and mirth.

The Babe born in the manger rules the entire universe. He rules all things as I Corinthians stated, "All things have been put under the power of Christ, so that God may be everything and in everything." This Christ-child -- King of Kings and Lord of Lords -- comes to us this day to rule in our hearts. You see, our hearts need to be ruled by the Infant born of Mary, because without Him Scripture very clearly presents that our hearts would otherwise be ruled by the darkness of our own sin. It says that in Matthew, "The things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man 'unclean.' For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander." Our hearts are darkened by sin -- ruled by sin -- and would have been lost forever without the coming of Jesus. His coming has brought divine light into the world.

That we might see our sins, acknowledge them for what they are, and receive forgiveness for them. Isaiah 1:18 says, "'Come now, let us reason together,' says the LORD. 'Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.'" Jesus' coming is about Light overpowering the darkness. Because of the Light of the Christ-child 1 John claims, "This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin." With heavenly joy we have been blessed, cleansed from our darkened nature, brightened by the Light of the Bethlehem manger. We are now in fellowship with Christ and with one another, bound together by this Christ-child as living branches of a tree.

God's love has reached us. It has come down from heaven in the manger child. The message of God's redemptive plan cannot be more clearly stated than through the words of Martin Luther's explanation to the Second Article of the Creed which says, "I believe that Jesus Christ, true God, begotten of the Father from eternity, and also true man, born of the virgin Mary, is my Lord. He bought me back to salvation, a lost and condemned creature. He has delivered and freed me from all sins, from death, and from the power of the devil, not with silver or gold, but with His holy and precious blood, and with His innocent sufferings and death in order that I may be his, live under His kingdom, and serve Him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness, even as He is risen from the dead and lives and reigns to all eternity. This is most certainly true." Christ is living. He is giving, life forever. The ransom price has been paid. The blood has been shed. It is God's promise! Our Savior is born! Amen.



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