Christmas Eve Sermon
December 24, 2018
Grace and mercy to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
The Holy Spirit has written according to St. Luke: And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. Thus far the text.
Let us pray: Gracious Father, give to us good tidings of great joy so that we may find Jesus wrapped in the Holy Scriptures, lying in the manger of Your Word, so that we, too, may believe in Jesus. Amen.
The entire Holy Bible is one long sermon about Jesus. Spoken by angels and men. Recorded by prophets and apostles. This one sermon has one preacher who is the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit has this promise - He is never found or heard apart from the Bible. That why the Bible is the Holy Bible.
One this Holy night, the Holy Spirit gives His sermon to the angel that appeared to the shepherds that first Christmas night. It is not even called a sermon. It is called good tidings of great joy!
Isn’t that beautiful to hear. Good news that brings great joy.
Certainly, sinners do not like to be preached at.
Sinners do not like simple subjects sermonized into abstract orations of meandering globs of irrelevant knowledge meant to puff up angels or pastors.
Sinners, however, rejoice to be brought good tidings of great joy.
It is why we sinners gather on this Holy night. For although we recognized our sinful sins for what they are. It is not God’s last word for us to hear. There is another Word the Holy Spirit is bringing to you this evening. He brings good tidings of great joy! What is that?
Your sins are forgiven. This is good tidings for believing sinners on this holy night.
Your sins are not held against you. This, too, brings believing sinners great joy.
It is good tidings of great joy for all people, except those who do not believe they are sinners; except those convinced they do not need a Savior at all.
To the unbelievers, this night is not holy.
The good tidings are mediocre to the unbeliever. Traditional, proper for tonight, but not needed.
The great joy is lackluster joy for those who believe not in Jesus.
If this sounds like you, the Holy Spirit may be graciously bringing you repentance in order for you to believe the good tiding unto great joy this evening. This holy evening.
If so, turn away from the fake news of false gods and fallen angels. Turn away from unforgiven men pushing mediocre news and lackluster joy which is no joy at all.
Instead, trust Jesus, again.
Listen to the Holy Spirit’s one sermon that begins in Genesis and continues to Revelation.
There you will hear how our Father placed Jesus in the womb of the Virgin,
Placed Jesus in the cradle of the manger,
Placed Jesus in the hands of Pontius Pilate,
Placed Jesus on a cross and die for your unbelief or whimsical mistrust.
Listen again to the Holy Spirit’s one sermon that begins in Genesis and continues to Revelation. For there you will hear how our Father placed Jesus in a grave.
Placed Jesus in Hell to proclaim victory over sin and death,
Placed Jesus in the upper room and before more than 500 witnesses to His resurrection.
And finally, placed Jesus at His right hand side.
The Holy Spirit proceeds from both the Father and the Son to bring good news of great joy in congregations like this around the world tonight. To this congregation, too.
And the treasure of the Christian church is delivered to your ears tonight. Which is:
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the Savior wrapped in swaddling Words, lying in the manger, which is the Holy Bible.
Jesus is the good tidings of great joy heard in every sermon.
Receive again the good tidings of the forgiveness of your sinful sins unto rejoicing in great joy on this Holy night; in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
The peace of God, which passes understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.