New parents have throughout history heralded the birth of a child in different ways: a town When a friend describes someone as, “a straight-shooter,” or says, “you know where you stand with her.” You know your friend means you can trust that person. Christmas is God’s message to you, “You can trust me.” He took a long time to keep his promise to send the Savior, but he did. He is taking a long time to keep his promise to return to earth in glory, but he will. Don’t confuse your agenda of what you want him to do for you with faith in his agenda of what he wants to do for you. You’d be selling yourself way too short. Let Christmas show you what he has in store for you, in his time. We’re so glad you’re with us today to worship God for his faithfulness.
New parents have throughout history heralded the birth of a child in different ways: a town crier, community bulletin board, local paper, U.S. mail, and more recently Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat. But Jesus, a unique baby, received a unique kind of birth announcement. May the Spirit who filled the shepherds with faith, fill you with the same faith through his grace as you encounter it today.
Pregnant women know what it's like to have a baby in the womb give a good kick. Two thousand years ago, a woman named Elizabeth was miraculously pregnant with John the Baptist. Her relative Mary was in the same condition, only with an even more miraculous baby: the Son of God. The Bible says that when the two pregnant women met, John gave Elizabeth a good kick in the diaphragm. The Holy Spirit was at work in that baby already. From that baby's kick, Mary grew in her faith in what God was up to. He was convincing Mary that she could trust his promises. Today, the Spirit uses the gospel in word and sacrament to do the same for us: convince us that we can trust his promises. Welcome to the Spirit’s presence in God's house. May his Good News in word and sacrament strengthen your trust in his promises.
Have you noticed more lights on these days? We light candles and put up lights as reminders: Jesus is the light of the world. The world is filled with darkness: ignorance of God, sinful habits, and the resulting ease with which we end up consumed with ourselves. Jesus comes and turns on a light so we can see our sin, confess it, receive forgiveness from him, and turn away from it. That's peace. This weekend, we learn from an upright man named Zechariah. He showed faithfulness, unfaithfulness and, because of God's grace, faithfulness. Come, all you unfaithful, [all of us] and find light and peace.