Sunday, December 27, 2009

Sermon for Christmas Day 2009

Rev. Paul J Cain

Isaiah 52:7-10

The Salvation of God

Christmas Day C, 25 December 2009

Immanuel Lutheran Church, Sheridan, Wyoming

In the Name of Jesus. Amen

Isaiah 52 is a perfect Word of the Lord to hear on Christmas morning, especially in Sheridan, Wyoming.

How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.”

The view of the Big Horn Mountains from Immanuel Lutheran Church and 5th Street is quite majestic. New snow adorns the mountaintops. And we have the eternally significant blessing of being gathered around the Lord’s gifts in celebration of His salvation. His kingdom has taken upon flesh this day.

The voice of your watchmen—they lift up their voice; together they sing for joy; for eye to eye they see the return of the Lord to Zion.

The Lord Himself has been born. It is Biblically true, yet sounds strange to the ear. He has returned to His people. Born in Bethlehem, Jesus will visit Jerusalem only to be mocked and flogged and crucified. But the empty tomb will be reason for celebration!

Break forth together into singing, you waste places of Jerusalem, for the Lord has comforted his people; he has redeemed Jerusalem. The Lord has bared his holy arm before the eyes of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.

This is most certainly true. Wyoming is on the other side of the world, at least from Jerusalem’s perspective, but the message of what happened there and in Bethlehem has spread to every corner of the earth.

It sounds odd to speak of corners on a globe, but it makes a lot of sense on a rectangular map. All the ends of the earth will, one day, even if only just before the Last Day—all the ends of the earth will see the salvation of our God in Christ Jesus

It spread to you. As Christians we naturally return thanks and praise to God for all he has done. As naturally as our body breathes we do good works as a thank you note to God. And we spread the Gospel to the world around us beginning with our families and children.

Do you remember the first time you heard the Gospel, the message of the good news of the forgiveness of sins because of what God accomplished on Christmas, Good Friday, and Easter? Do you remember your first time in a Christian church? Do you recall the days you learned in detail about the incarnation, atonement, and resurrection?

That is coming up next. Isaiah 52 is a famous Bible passage, but not usually for Christmas. Verses 7-10 are ideal for our meditation today on the enfleshment of God and His holy birth. Skip ahead to verse 13 and continue reading into Isaiah 53 and you will see how closely related all the works of the Lord are in Christ Jesus. The Suffering Servant of Good Friday comes into clear view. Our Lord Jesus was born for a purpose. He was born to die. He was born to die and rise again. He was born to die and rise again and give you forgiveness, life, and salvation. The gifts of the Lord are rich and varied. The Salvation of God in Christ is your Gift this day. Amen.

In the Name of Jesus. Amen.