Christmas Day, 2019
The Epistle – Hebrews 1:1-12
The Gospel – St. John 1:1-14
In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, Amen.
These should be very familiar words to everyone here and you all should immediately be able to tell where they come from.
“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.  The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.  And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness.  God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.
 And God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.”  And God made the expanse and separated the waters that were under the expanse from the waters that were above the expanse. And it was so.  And God called the expanse Heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day.
 And God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so.  God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good.” (ESV)
These are the first 10 verses of the Book of Genesis. They are part of what is called the Creation Narrative.
They describe the process by which God created the world.
These words are significant as we turn to the Scriptures given to us this Christmas morning.
Notice that our lesson from the Gospel comes from another “Chapter 1.” This time it is chapter 1 of John’s Gospel.
Here we heard similar words. See if you can see or hear the similarity with these first few words.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God.  All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made…”
“He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him.” (ESV)
These 4 verses, taken together are speaking of Jesus the Christ.
So I hope you are already putting these together.
beginning, God created the world.
John says, In the beginning was the Word. The Word is Christ.
So, in the beginning, Christ created the world.
What usually shocks, stuns and even causes great fear and trembling among many people is the factuality of these statements.
You can point to any religion in the world…or it might be better to say, you can identify any non-Christian religion in the world by this test. …You ask them, do you believe that Jesus is God, that He is eternal and that He created the world?
If you get a “no” answer, you are speaking to a non-Christian.
If you get any varied reply or attempts to massage those words to get a watered-down answer, you are probably speaking to a cultist…someone who claims to be a Christian.. who claims to be part of a movement that has discovered the truth after it was lost by those who came after the Apostles.
If someone does not acknowledge that Jesus is the only true eternal God and that He created the world, that person is not a Christian.
And unlike our culture today that urges us to get along, and to accept everyone’s opinion as true, this fact of the Christian religion cannot be compromised or watered down.
And this is vital for us to see as well, as Christians because of the gravity of what it says.
John is telling us, or the lectionary tells us this Christmas morning that the baby lying in the manger, is the creator. ..He is God. He is the one who created you and me and all that ever was, is or will be.
lying in the manger is God Himself. He was in the beginning.
He created all things.
He was with the Father.
And in Him is life. The life of all men.
John goes on to say there, though, that not all received Him.
Not all received Him as God.
John writes, “He was in the world and even though the world was created by Him, not everyone accepted this…and believed Him to be the Creator.
So, the rejection of Jesus as God is not new.
He even was born to a Jewish mother and had the upbringing of a Jewish father. He came to His own Jewish people and they rejected Him as well.
Not only those who were pagans and believed in many gods and worshiped the stars and the planets…but even those who were the closest to God.
God had spoken to them, sent Prophets to them, saved them many times. But when Jesus came, they did not recognize Him as that God.
They remained stubborn in their ways.
A veil was over their eyes.
The other lesson for this morning… from the Hebrews.
The author of Hebrews tells us this morning something very similar.
He has some more to tell us to solidify just who this Christ child is that we celebrate this day.
He says, “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets…”
There it is. God spoke to our fathers…meaning the Jewish people of old.
God sent Prophets to speak to the people of God to continually warn them of their behavior regarding living and worshiping God.
And, as we know, over and over they rejected this message or drifted away from this message and the Laws of God.
At many times and in many ways, God spoke to His people and warned them. But, he says….but in these last days….the days when Jesus was born…He spoke once more…and He spoke finally.
God spoke in the most clear and concise way possible. He came to earth Himself.
He spoke to us by His Son, Jesus Christ. God the Father spoke to us by sending God the Son to us.
So, this also tells us that Christmas Day and the birth of Jesus is God speaking to us. Are we listening?
Do we truly understand what God is saying by sending His Son?
This Son, through Whom God created the whole world, …He is the radiance of God’s glory.
He is the exact imprint of God’s nature.
He upholds all things by the word of His power.
This God-child, creator of the universe, upholds the whole universe…even while lying in a manger.
The writer also tells us about what He came to do…other than to be born of a Virgin and placed in a manger.
He came to die for the sins of the world.
He did so and in His dying, He purified for Himself a people…He purified our sins, drew us to Himself as His people and now, when His mission on earth was complete, it says…
“…he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,  having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.”
Once Jesus died, rose from the dead and ascended back into Heaven to be with the Father and the Holy Spirit, He sat down at the right hand of the Father…more superior than any and all angels. …more superior than any man on earth.
He sat down back in the Heavenly throne from which He came in the first place.
He was rewarded for His obedience …even being obedient unto death…for our sins.
All angels worship Him.
All angels do His bidding.
The Father says to the Son, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom…You…laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning, and the heavens are the work of your hands…But you are the same, and your years will have no end.” (ESV)
So not only from eternity past but into eternity future, Jesus Christ is God and will be God and His years will have no end.
And it is to this One True, Eternal, Living God that we owe all.
He has regenerated us.
He alone can save us.
We owe Him our devotion, and love and obedience and homage and trust and faith and thanksgiving.
So, contemplate your nativity scene this year. Most of us have one. All of us should.
It is a great reminder of just how amazing our Lord Jesus Christ is.
One Who can be so immense and big and awesome and powerful and incomprehensible…and yet can overshadow a young virgin girl, implant life in her…and then be born into the world….all so that He could in all ways be like us….and ultimately to save us.
He did not remain on high and fix the problem from a distance. He came down to us and walked among us.
He performed miracles. He taught. He healed. All for us.
So, the message and miracle of Christmas is the message that God has come to the world in the person of Jesus Christ.
He came to give His life so that believing and trusting in Him, we might have life…that we might have life and have it more abundantly and have everlasting life in the world to come.
So, let us not be like those who have heard the message and for one reason or another rejected Him.
Let us not be like those unto whom He came and who rejected Him.
Let us each continually come to Him, as He has first drawn us unto Himself and let this Christmas be all about loving and praising and worshiping the One who was born this day for us.
In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, Amen.