You know it’s coming. Get ready for it. Someone will ask you, “Will you stay awake until midnight?” If you ask it, you can anticipate a range of answers from, “I’ll just be getting started,” to “The new year will come in whether I’m awake or not.” If someone asks you, “Will you stay awake until midnight?” you might answer, “I’m not sure what I’ll do, but I know I’ll be celebrating a baby who went to church.” His or her quizzical-looking response might give you the chance to explain, “I’m still celebrating Christmas and the truth that God not only came to earth as a baby, but he went to church as a baby.” It’s not the expected answer, but you’re pointing to the best news everyone needs: a Savior has come for the world. We’re so glad you’ve gathered with us today to continue celebrating the truth that will make our new year great: “Christ is born.”
Why did the angels say “fear not” to so many people at the very first Christmas? What’s there to fear about a little Lord Jesus asleep on the hay? What's there to be afraid of? The angels knew any human being coming into the presence of the glory of the Lord would have to be afraid. So do we. We tend to bury that fear with distraction, polish, and the illusion that we have plenty of time to figure it out. The angel announced a better way: “Fear not, for, behold, I bring you good news of great joy.” Let’s marvel at the good news both on Christmas Eve and on Christmas Day
In the novel Charlotte’s Web, a pig named Wilbur enjoys an unusual friendship with a barn spider named Charlotte. When a little farm girl discovers Charlotte can write words in her web, the girl’s mother takes her to the doctor, concerned that something is wrong with her. The doctor agrees he can’t understand how a spider can write words in a web, but he points out, it’s just as impossible to understand how a spider can make a web in the first place. We have to leave room for the mysterious. The angels show up at the birth of Christ to keep us from writing off the wonder of God learning how to walk and talk and just staring at things like little babies do. Don’t say, “Impossible.” Just say, “Mysterious.” And let the angel tell you what he told Joseph: “Do not be afraid.” We’ve gathered to revel in the mystery and worship God for it. We’re so glad you’ve joined us!
adjective: free from fault or flaw; free from errors
Can we ever apply this term to any human effort? Luke 1 describes two different encounters between an angel and a human. We can see something immaculate, or very close to it, in the account about Mary. Let's learn together from one of the greatest announcements of all time.
Welcome to Advent, the first season of the church year, the four weeks before Christmas. Advent means "coming." In Advent we celebrate three things: Christ came in the past as a baby in Bethlehem, Christ is coming now as we, his church, gather around his Word and sacrament, and Christ is coming again to make all things new and judge the world in righteousness. Advent is about our lives. When God's angels appeared to tell the Good News, they began with, "Do not be afraid." This Advent season, let their words sink deeply into your heart. Take time to ponder what their message means to you, and in worship give your attention to and give thanksgiving for the gift of our gracious God, in his Son, the Savior of the world. Fear not.