“Watershed Moments: Jesus’ Birth and Our Own” (John 1:1-18; Titus 3:4-7)

The Nativity of Our Lord: Christmas Day
Thursday, December 25, 2014

“Watershed Moments: Jesus’ Birth and Our Own” (John 1:1-18; Titus 3:4-7)

Today is Christmas Day. This is the day for celebrating the greatest birth in the history of the world, the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The birth of Christ marks the watershed moment in all of human history. By a “watershed moment,” I mean a moment so significant that it marks a division between what went before and what comes after. And so it is with the birth of Christ. We even divide up time according to it: “B.C.,” “Before Christ,” and “A.D.,” “Anno Domini,” “In the Year of the Lord” such-and-such, that is, it’s been so many years since our Lord’s birth.

But besides being a day to celebrate our Lord’s birth, today is also a day for celebrating another birth–your own. And by that I mean your rebirth, your second birth, as a child of God. That is the watershed moment in your life, in your own personal history, the day when you were born again, born from above, in the waters of Holy Baptism. And our readings today speak of both of these momentous occasions: “Watershed Moments: Jesus’ Birth and Our Own.”

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Published in: on December 25, 2014 at 4:34 am  Leave a Comment  
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“What Christmas Is All About: God Saving Us, in a Humble Way, to Be His People” (Luke 2:1-20; Titus 2:11-14; Isaiah 9:2-7)

The Nativity of Our Lord: Christmas Eve
Wednesday, December 24, 2014

“What Christmas Is All About: God Saving Us,
in a Humble Way, to Be His People”
(Luke 2:1-20; Titus 2:11-14; Isaiah 9:2-7)

What is Christmas all about? How do people view Christmas and celebrate it? Why do they look forward to it? Or do they? Some people get burned out on Christmas and want to avoid it. But most folks still like to maintain the custom of celebrating Christmas. Why? What is it about this holiday that makes it so special? I think there is something about this holiday that is special, but it may not be the same as what most people think.

For most people, for most Americans, at least, I think it’s sort of a nostalgic glow that is the big thing about Christmas. They associate it with happy memories from days gone past. Tinsel and lights on the Christmas tree. Packages nicely wrapped and piled up under the tree. Kids eagerly awaiting the visit from Santa. Christmas cards taped to the door. Christmas stockings hung on the mantle. Christmas songs played on the radio, and Christmas specials on TV: Rudolph, Bing Crosby, Perry Como, and Frosty the Snowman. Happy times with Grandma and Grandpa. That special Christmas dinner, with family traveling from all over to get together, and all sitting around the table. Whether it was ham or turkey–or, in the case of us Henricksons, lutfisk and Swedish meatballs and rice pudding–Christmas dinner with the family is one of the most treasured memories of this holiday.

Now is there anything wrong with those happy associations with Christmas? No, not at all. All good things, when kept in proper perspective, and all to be enjoyed. Good stuff. But are those what Christmas really is all about? Tonight I’d like to suggest, no, those nice things, as nice as they are, are not the essence of Christmas. I think they all come out of Christmas, as a byproduct thereof, but the original connection with the essence of Christmas has become more and more loosened as the years and the centuries have gone by.

So what is Christmas all about? I’ve thought about that question, and in looking over the lessons assigned for this night, I think we can boil it down to this: “What Christmas Is All About: God Saving Us, in a Humble Way, to Be His People.”

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Published in: on December 24, 2014 at 10:57 am  Leave a Comment  
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