This is my sermon text for my Christmas Morn message. The text is Luke 2:4-20.
EDIT: An audio recording has been added. Merry Christmas.
In God’s time, there was Good News of Great Joy to all people.
In God’s time, a gift was given to us.
In God’s time, the things that separate us from God, sin and death, would be defeated.
In God’s time, humanity would be reconciled to God.
And all of this occurred because a baby boy was born in a barn, laid in a feeding trough and wrapped in rags. The time was right.
But what should our response be?
Because we know the whole story of Jesus, that this baby whose birth we remember and celebrate will grow to be an incredible teacher and preacher; that he will heal the sick, and raise the dead; that he will perform many miracles; but most importantly, that he will give up his life on the Cross; and then he will be raised from that death; through him our sins are wiped clean and death is defeated. Because we know the whole story, we know the Good News of Great Joy that is for all people is that to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord.
But what should our response be?
Look at how the angels responded. First, one angel appeared to the shepherds, and told them to go and see for themselves. Then, a whole army of angels showed up proclaimed the birth by praising and glorifying God.
The shepherds responded by going into Bethlehem, finding where Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus were, and they made known what had been told them about this child; then they returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen.
What if our response to this gift from God, or for any gift given to us from God was to give praise and glory to God? And if we did, what would that look like? What if we reacted with joy and celebrated what God has blessed us with?
I give you as an example, my best friend and roommate, Ananias Bulldogge Campbell.
When I get home at the end of the day, Ananias will come to greet me at the door. He wants to jump up and give me what I call a doggie hug. But I’ve trained him not to do that because he’s almost 90 pounds and he would make someone lose their balance and possibly fall. So he wants to jump up, but knows he shouldn’t. So he bounces. As soon as my hands are free, I’ll scratch that special spot behind his ears and his little nub of a tail is wiggling at a million miles an hour. Then he will run around the house to show me that he took care of everything while I was gone.
Where is our celebration of joy like that?
We have been blessed by God with the gift of God’s Son, our Savior. But we have been blessed in so many other ways. We woke up today. We woke up today in warm houses. We had food for breakfast. We will have more food later in the day. We are able to exchange gifts with loved ones. We were able to travel to be here this morning. We are, and have been, blessed in so many ways.
But what should our response be? What if we made known about how we have been blessed; glorifying and praising God for everything?
What if the gift we give to others this Christmas is telling them Good News of Great Joy that God loves them, and that we love them, too? What if we showed that love by actually caring for and about others? What if we honestly asked people what we could do to help them? What if we meant it when we ask people how they are doing, then we acted to help them?
What if we were excited to share the Good News of Great Joy in word and deed as our dogs are to see us when we come home? What if we lived lives of Great Joy because of the Good News?
That could be the greatest Christmas gifts ever.
The time IS right. It is God’s time. AMEN.
Pastor Brian's Page
Pastor Brian Robert Campbell has served at Our Savior's and Emmanuel since August 1, 2011, and began serving Nazareth on December 1, 2015.
Pastor Brian is originally from Saginaw, Michigan. He graduated from Alma College with a B.A. in Business Administration, and worked for the Saginaw Public Schools' Community Education Department for 17 years before answering the call to ministry. He graduated with a M. Div. from the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg in 2011. ONE in Christ Lutheran Parish is his first call.
He is the only child of Robert and Charlotte Campbell, both who have entered the Church Eternal.
He is accompanied in ministry by his faithful bulldogge Ananias, who regularly writes for our newsletter. His articles are archived here.
He is a fan of sports teams from his native Michigan, especially the Tigers and the Lions. But we tolerate him despite that.
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