Christmas Day 2018 – “The True Light Comes to Man!” John 1:1-18
Christmas Day 2018 – “The True Light Comes to Man!” John 1:1-18
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen
The text for our sermon meditation is from the Gospel account of St John, the 1st Chapter.
1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was in the beginning with God. 3All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
6There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. 8He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.
9The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. 10He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. 12But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
14And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15(John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”) 16And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.
So far the reading.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ;
How comforting is light to you? How necessary is light to you? The child who loves to read books will desire light 24 hours a day. The best Christmas gift for that child would be a flashlight or a clip on light that she may read in bed after the sun sets.
The florists use light to force blooms on plants that they will be ready for special holidays and occasions. How many of us can make sure the Christmas Cactus will actually bloom at Christmas the year after you buy it?
Light is important and necessary. Light gives warmth and sustains life. Light brings enjoyment and settled peace. Light brings security and hope. Light is life itself.
In this way we must think of our Lord whose birth we celebrate once again. John proclaims to us this light of life, this true light from the throne of God coming to earth to bring the very power of God to bear on a world wandering in darkness. Just as Isaiah proclaimed centuries before:
The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness,
on them has light shined. …
For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Light and darkness are biblical themes that run throughout Scripture. From the beginning when God created light and darkness, through the darkness of sin and unbelief entering creation through the rebellion of Adam and Eve, to the coming of the Son of God who brings divine light to men and to the final revelation of the light of God’s glory when the Son of God Returns to judge the world, light has a prominent place in our life.
Isaiah remarks about people walking in darkness. John the Baptizer cries out to these people walking in darkness. In other places John the Baptizer declares the people living in the darkness of sin must come in to the light of God through repentance and baptism for the forgiveness of sin. He declares the light of God’s grace to be in the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. This Lamb of God is the Jesus whose birth we celebrate.
Darkness abounds in this world. Even in broad daylight people walk in darkness. Their eyes and hearts are blind to the truth that they are accountable to One who is greater than are they. How many officials have fallen from prominence because of corruption and misuse or abuse of their authority? Police officers who coerce sexual favors from the people they are sworn to protect. Politicians and judges who accept bribes for favorable treatment. Clergy who abuse their office to pursue ungodly ends. Parents who abandon their place of responsibility and fail to give basic care to their children. We could fill books with examples of this sort of life.
What is this darkness? It is the darkness of unbelief. It is the failure to recognize our accountability to One who is over us. We see the levels of authority in our community and give due and measured obedience to them. Who does not slow down when they see a patrol car? Who does not give respect to teachers, or elected officials or store managers or clerks? Remember I said measured obedience. Measured obedience means as long as they don’t mess with me and my schedule, wants or needs. As long as you meet my wants or needs, I won’t make them demands.
Behind this and all such thinking is the sinful attitude that you are king and everyone needs to tell you, that you are king, or queen, too. We need to be PC, right? No we do not because political correctness is part of this sin problem. It is a subtle denial of accountability to God and His representatives on earth. It ultimately is a denial of the need for Jesus Christ. Why, because you do not confess sin, let alone acknowledge there is sin. You do not see the need to repent. You do not acknowledge there is right and wrong, or at least that you are doing anything wrong. You want everything to go your way.
What happens when we want to have it our own way? Discord, strife, broken relationships, and all manner of trouble fill your life. How many families do not have these things taking place? How many relationships do not become tested, stretched and even broken because we did not have things our way? It is because we live by a truth that is of our own making and we fail to take responsibility for failure and sin.
It is into this manner of life that God sends the True Light. The Christ-child whose birth we celebrate this day is that true light. He comes into our darkness to set things right and to bring those who are estranged back together again that they might live in peace. Who are those whom the Christ-child reconciles? Look around you today and do not forget the faces of those you see and the faces of those you do not see. These people are the ones for whom this Christ-child was born. He was born to bring truth and light into the darkness of their sinful lives as well as your sinful life. The desire being to reconcile them first with their Creator, and then with their fellow human beings.
For this reason John was chosen to herald the Messiah’s presence to us sinners. John was chosen by God to bear witness to the light of salvation and the sacrifice that abounds to eternal life. We heard how the angels called the shepherds to the manger of our Lord. There these men saw the grace of God revealed at the birth of Jesus. John now calls all sinners to foot of our savior’s cross to look upon the sacrifice for sin. The glory of the manger foreshadowed the glory of the cross. In this glory the light of God’s mercy and grace is reveal to and for all sinners.
This day and last evening we recounted the words of God that revealed in progressively greater detail the salvation God would work through His only begotten son, Jesus Christ. During our Advent midweek services we recounted the threefold office of Jesus who is our Prophet, Priest and King. These words serve to enlighten us of the great redemption God worked to rescue from sin and death those who were created in His image. The story has not changed. The hope has not changed. The redemption has not changed. The gifts of grace have not changed. The Word of God has not changed. The means of obtaining such redemption has not changed. By grace through faith in Jesus Christ sinners are brought into the light of God’s salvation.
You who have crossed the threshold of faith have this redemption and salvation of God. You walk in the true light and with the true light Jesus Christ. He came to you in the water of Holy Baptism and gave you the eternal gifts of God. He took you in His mighty hands and built you into His holy House. He anointed you with the water of life and set you apart as His holy people and royal priesthood. He will bring you to eternal life on Day of His Second Advent.
This is He whom seers in old time
Chanted of with one accord,
Whom the voices of the prophets Promised in their faithful word.
Now He shines, the long-expected;
Let creation praise its Lord
Evermore and evermore.
O ye heights of heav’n, adore Him;
Angel hosts, His praises sing.
Pow’rs, dominions, bow before Him
And extol our God and King.
Let no tongue on earth be silent,
Ev’ry voice in concert ring
Evermore and evermore.
[LSB 384 vv 3,4 Public Domain]
In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen