December 24, 2018
Pastor John Hering
1 In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. 3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.
Stop me if you’ve heard these before:
- What did Adam say to his spouse the day before Christmas? “Honey, today is Christmas EVE!”
- Why did Santa name his new, awkward reindeer Olive? Because OLIVE the other reindeer used to laugh and call him names!
- Why did the little girl not want to sit on Santa’s lap? She was CLAUS-trophobic!
I have three more!
Who was born, but at birth was older than the hills? Who was hungry but provides food for all? Who was born in an unsanitary place, yet provides purification for all? The answer, of course, has everything to do with the miracle of Christmas! This Christmas we turn to the Book to the Hebrews who leads us to the answer to all three riddles!
This Baby Is The Son of God!
The Son who made it all
If you have information, and control how that information is used, you have power. Joseph didn’t have much information on being a dad, but he knew he needed to find a safe place for his new family to stay warm. Mary didn’t know much about contractions and breathing, but she knew she was giving birth to a baby. Their information combined didn’t hold much power, unlike Caesar Augustus or King Herod. With one command Caesar caused his empire to conduct a census. With one command King Herod would order the babies around Bethlehem to be murdered. Compared to most, Mary and Joseph had very little power. Should anyone expect their baby to have more power?
Normally, a baby’s conception marks the beginning of their life. But this baby was not like every other baby. He had a birth date, but at the same time has no birth date. He appeared in time, but he was around before the beginning of time. You get it. This baby was not just Mary and Joseph’s baby, This Baby Is The Son of God! Listen to the writer to the Hebrews:
“God … has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. 3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being.”
So, who was born and yet at birth was older than the hills? You know. It is the miracle of Christmas! This Baby is the Son of God who made it all!
Kneel beside the manger with double vision and marvel at the truth that this Baby made the universe! Yes, we see a newborn baby that we might like to pick up and hold as he coos and yawns. But the BIG miracle at Christmas is that God took on human flesh! This baby that made us, knows every detail about humans beings. He knows how humans can be lonely at Christmas because someone moved away, or Grandma’s house is in another state, or even because someone you love has died. This baby knows it all and he knows how to deal with it. This baby knows your travel plans, the dangers of the road, and he sends his holy angels to protect you. When you consider your life and are looking forward to a New Year’s resolution to break a sinful habit, this baby knows the struggles and graciously gives the power for self-control. This Baby Is The Son of God who made it all—including our flesh and bones, our hearts, emotions, feelings and life. He takes all of that on to himself for you and for me. And that’s not all
He is the Son who provides for all our needs!
From the looks of y’all I don’t see anyone here that appears to be starving. When we hear someone say, “I’m starving” it’s probably because they know what they’re about to eat at Christmas, or maybe they missed lunch or supper and their looking for an excuse to “supersize the fries!” When our tummies rumble we really don’t worry about our next meal. We have plenty to eat in our cupboards, frig and even if we’re eating “Lean-Cuisine” we’re eating pretty good.
When Jesus was born he was like every other baby who was dependent on his mother for warmth, love and food. Mary wrapped him in swaddling clothes, held him close, nursed him, and laid him in a manger. And I know the song says, “No crying he makes” but don’t you think he cried when his stomach got empty, too?
Normally, we think of the provider as the one who brings home the bacon, who earns the money to buy the food. And that person is usually an adult. Kneel beside the manger with double vision and marvel at the truth that this baby Jesus is the Son of God who provides for all our needs! Yes, while he was dependent on his mother for food, he is at the same time the one who provides food for the whole world! The writer to the Hebrews says, Jesus is the one
“sustaining all things by his powerful word.”
Jesus is the one who
“is good, and his mercy endures forever.”
Jesus is the one
“who opens his hand and satisfies the desires of every living thing.”
So, who was hungry and yet provides food for all? You know. It is the miracle of Christmas! This Baby is the Son of God who provides for all! He does all of that for you and for me. And that’s not all!
He is the Son Who Purifies all
When your family is finished eating their Christmas meal, somebody has to do the dishes. Maybe you don’t give that a lot of thought, but we know it just has to be done. Some put the dishes in the sink hoping that some elves might stop by and wash them. Others do the dishes to make room on the table to games. Others understand that dirty dishes, if left alone, will begin to grow bacteria and mold, and bugs get interested in paying a visit. We wash the dishes to get them clean!
If you were shopping for a place to give birth to your firstborn son, I seriously doubt that a cattle shed, even with fresh straw, wouldn’t pass your inspection. Did Joseph have to find fresh straw, build a fire, boil some water, find a onesies? This baby was helpless when it came to having a sanitized room, clean clothes and a clean bed. He had to rely on Mary and Joseph for even the hint of anything pure. Yet, this baby is not like every other baby. He is the one who carried out his mission to provide spiritual purity for all people. We all have the inherited filth of sin from our parents. This isn’t a light covering of dust on the coffee tables in our hearts, or some spiritual lint that you can flick off your robes. It is spiritual dirt ground into our souls. But, Jesus did something so we are declared clean. He washed all our sins away with an awesome detergent, his own blood! His blood could do this because it was the price demanded by his Father in heaven for sin—a perfect human life. Jesus’ blood was holy and could pay for sin. But, This Baby is the Son of God who purifies all. His blood was not just perfect human blood, but it is the blood of God—powerful enough to pay the penalty of all sins, to purify hearts of all sin. Listen to the writer to the Hebrews:
“After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.”
This is our assurance that the Baby-Jesus born in Bethlehem is the perfect Savior we needed. Having accomplished his mission, he now sits at God’s right hand in glory. Kneel beside the manger with double vision and marvel at the truth that this baby Jesus is the Son of God who purifies all!
So, who was born in an unsanitary place and yet provides purification for all? You know. It is the miracle of Christmas! This Baby is the Son of God who purifies all! He does all of that for you and for me.
There are lots of fun things we can do Christmas. Like riddles: Why didn’t the turkey want to eat at Christmas? Because he was already STUFFED! You can share riddles, exchange presents, enjoy family and friends, enjoy the Christmas decorations, music and the festive spirit. But, for real joy at Christmas you will need God’s gift of double vision. Go ahead, kneel beside the manger and marvel at the truth that this baby Jesus is the Son of God who made it all, provides it all, and purifies us all. Merry Christmas! Amen!