Christmas Eve (Lk 2:1–20)

Photo by Elvira Visser on Unsplash

Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO
Bethlehem Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO

“She wrapped Him in swaddling cloths and laid Him in a manger because there was no room in the inn for them.”

INI + AMEN.

Tonight you see and hear again what sort of God you have. You don’t have a far-off God, a God who’s off in heaven, who’s just putting you through a test to see how you do. Your God doesn’t tell you that you need to work really hard to find Him and then and only then will He be with you or help you or save you. Your God’s not making a list and checking it twice.

He knows how that ends for you. You know, too. It’s how we live. Our lives are full of empty words and promises toward God and others. We live hiding from God. We live in our sins. Do they even bother you? We live trying to make up for our sins. We live for ourselves and our desires, selfish. We love only those we love. And when we love them, or when we help others, well, that so often comes back to how our helping, serving, or generosity makes us feel. Is that even generosity?

But the Creator of the universe won’t have any of that. Tonight you see and hear again what sort of God you have. “Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” Your God comes into the muck, the yuck, the dirty, smelly, sin-filled world. He comes into your darkness. He’s born at night, in darkness, because that’s how we live our lives. He comes to find us in the dark. He comes to be that sort of God, that sort of Savior FOR YOU.

He doesn’t stay cute and cuddly for long. (Babies never do.) He swaps out the wood of His manger for the wood of His cross. There you see what sort of God you have! God the Father who sends His Son to suffer what you deserve. God the Son who’s just like you, flesh of your flesh and bone of your bone. He was born. He suffered. He died. He lives. All of it for you.

He’s not far off. We keep Him at arms length. We still hide in our darkness. It’s all we know: our pain, our mistakes, our failures, our sins. But still He comes into your world. His Manger is FOR YOU. And just like that trough in a sheep stable was holy because He was there, so He will make you holy. He wants to dwell within you. He comes with His body and blood to bring Himself and His forgiveness, His own purity and love into the manger of your heart and from there out into your daily life.

His Manger, His Cross, His empty tomb were all for you. Now, there is room for you. Room at His table for you to receive His body and blood, and that means there’s room at His eternal party, too. The holy Son of God comes into our muck and mud, born of Mary, body and blood Jesus, to dwell within us and bring us to His Feast now and forever. That’s the sort of God you have.

INI + AMEN.

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