Monday, December 23, 2013
Very Brief Homily for Sunday School Christmas Lessons & Carols
Isaiah 9:2, 6, 7; Luke 1:26-35, 38; Luke 2:1, 3-7; Luke 2:8-16; John 1:1-14
In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit.
“… who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary and was made man….” This truth we confess together each and every time we gather to receive Jesus’ body and blood in the Lord’s Supper. This truth we remember and celebrate each Lord’s Day in the Divine Service. This truth we remember and celebrate at Christmas. For, this truth Isaiah prophesied of over seven hundred years before Jesus’ birth. This truth St. Luke narrated so beautifully and poignantly throughout two complete chapters of his Gospel. And, this truth St. John proclaimed in a single powerful and mysterious sentence saying, “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.”
From Adam’s sin, humanity began its gradual descent into the darkness of sin and death so that, by the time of Isaiah’s prophecy, there were few left who continued to hope, only a remnant, for the land of Israel was barren and dry from her apostasy and from the ravaging of godless kings. The tree of Jesse had been cut down, reduced to a fruitless stump. But, that was when God acted, for that is when God always acts – when there is no human reason for hope, no human wisdom that could imagine even a chance. A shoot sprang forth from the burned-out stump of Jesse, even a fruit-bearing branch, and the Spirit of the Lord returned and rested upon a man, Jesus.
Mary’s boy-child, lying in a manger, has become for us the fruitful tree of life. He is the Savior of our fallen race. He came to us as the Babe of Bethlehem. He comes to us now to forgive us anew, to strengthen our faith, and to bless us as we wait and watch for His coming in glory. This is the Advent of our Lord! Let us rejoice and be glad in Him!
In the + Name of Jesus. Amen.