Printable PDF: 12-25-2019 Christmas Day Sermon
Pastor Mark R Jacobson ~ Christmas Day ~ December 25, 2019
Sing to the Lord, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples. – Psalm 96:1-3
Carols to the Christ Child
There’s an old Christmas legend that tells how God called all the angels of heaven together for a special choir rehearsal. The first choir rehearsal took place shortly after Genesis chapter 3. Genesis chapter 3 is not a legend. Genesis chapter 3 is divine truth. Genesis chapter 3 tell us about Adam and Eve and their fall into sin. Genesis chapter 3 also tells us about the first gospel promise of a Savior. God would create enmity between the devil serpent and Eve and between Satan’s offspring and hers; the Savior would crush the serpent’s head, but the serpent would strike the Savior’s heel” (Genesis 3:15). That gospel promise is divine truth. The angelic choir rehearsal is a legend, and the legend is this: God told the angels he wanted them to learn a song, a song they would sing on a very special occasion. The angels went to work on this song. They practiced for days and weeks. They practiced for centuries and millennia. As time went by the angels practiced with greater focus and intensity. The song was perfect and then God shocked the angels. God told the angels they would sing this song only one time. The angels began to wonder about this occasion. They wondered about how large of an audience they would have. They wondered about the caliber of people to whom they would sing, probably kings and queens and prophets and priests. Then God peeled back the curtain of heaven and said, “Showtime!” And the angelic choir belted out in perfect harmony, “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”
As they finished their song and noticed the lack of numbers in their audience and as they noticed the lack of dignitaries they couldn’t help but wonder if God had made a mistake. Shepherds. Stinky shepherds. Shepherds who couldn’t carry a tune much less appreciate a choir that could. Not a larger crowd? Not a dignified crowd? Why? We don’t know why, but we know this: “There is more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who do not need to repent” (Luke 15:7).
How has your singing been this morning? I’m not talking about your rhythm and tone. I’m talking about the attitude of your heart. Is your heart filled with Christmas joy, or is your Christmas joy starting to peter out? Are you tired from life troubles? Are you fearful for the future? Are you uncertain about everything? Perhaps our Christmas isn’t always merry because we don’t always look honestly at our sins. Maybe we view our sins as a minor traffic ticket. Or we compare our infractions against God’s holy law to the infractions of others and think God should show more leniency with us. Our sins bring us nothing but trouble. Our sins show us nothing but a scary future. Our sins call for a permanent separation from God for all eternity.
An honest look at our sins and a life without a Savior gives us all motivation to sing for the Savior who has come. When I have complete relief from life’s greatest hurt in the form of forgiveness of sins, I have a joy that no outward circumstance can take away from me. When I have the Savior, whom the Bible describes as the Pearl of Great Price, I am beyond rich, even if my earthly treasures find a hole in my pocket. When I have heaven as my final destination, I can keep singing when my life hits a pothole or takes a detour. By God’s grace I have Jesus as my Savior and in him a never-failing source of joy.
So join the carolers. Join Zechariah and Mary. Join the Shepherds and Simeon. They have made known to the nations the marvelous deeds of our Lord through their singing. May we continue their songs with the stanzas we sing and the good news we share about our Savior. Amen.