Todd A. Peperkorn, STM
Christmas Eve Midnight (Dec. 24, 2013)
TITLE: “Delivered to You!”
In the name of the Father and of the † Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Our text for the Nativity of our Lord is from Luke 2:6, So it was, that while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And also Luke 2:11, For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
When all was still and it was midnight, your almighty Word, O Lord, descended from the royal throne(Wisdom 18:14–15). The whole world was still when Mary brought forth her firstborn Son. It is as if all of creation was waiting on tiptoe to peek into the manger in Bethlehem to get a look at the one prophesied from so long ago. Who will get a glimpse of the baby? Will kings see Him, will royalty or those in power or authority? Who will have the honor of receiving the newborn King of the Universe? Who will have the honor? Who will get the prize?
The world sat in the darkness of sin. That darkness was deep. It was the darkness of fear and death. It was the darkness of pain and suffering from sin the world over. There was a stillness over the earth from this shadow of death which covered all people. As Isaiah said in chapter 9 (v. 2): The people who walked in darkness Have seen a great light; Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them a light has shined.This darkness, this shadow of sin and death looked like it had control over the whole world. But it was not so.
When all was still and it was midnight, your almighty Word, O Lord, descended from the royal throne. Mary brought forth her first-born son in the middle of night, in the darkness of our sin and death. For you see, Jesus Christ the Son of God doesn’t enter into the world with a show of power and might. He entered into the world of darkness, the darkness of our sin and death. That is where He came in. For He came into the world to bright light, the true light of the only-begotten Son of God. He came to bring the light and to shine that Gospel, that good news of salvation to all the world. The people who walked in darkness Have seen a great light. The light didn’t come from us. We are darkened and in the shadow of death. We are blind by our own greed and sin. But Christ came into the world, into our darkness, to shine the truth of the Gospel to all the world.
And God’s timing is always perfect; the events of this world always work out as He would see fit in the end. The days were accomplished that she should be delivered. Do you catch the double language there? Mary would be delivered of the Christ-child. She would be delivered from her sin. Who would deliver her? Only Jesus could deliver her. So the bearer of the Son of God would be saved, would be delivered by her own flesh and blood.
Jesus came into earth as a little child. He came in the same way you and I came into earth, through the womb of His mother. But He didn’t have the amenities we have today to insure his safety. There was no hospital. There was no doctor or nurses there to make sure mother and child were safe. They were there, Mary and Joseph, alone on a cold Palestinian night. And Mary brought forth the Son of God and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a feed-trough.
When all was still and it was midnight, your almighty Word, O Lord, descended from the royal throne. This Jesus began His life on earth as the poorest of the poor. No place to live, no comfort, no safety at all. He lived His life here as the humblest of all. Not even a roof over His head. He became the poorest of all so that you could be rich, rich with God’s mercy and light, rich with life and salvation, rich with forgiveness. Jesus Christ came into the world so that you might have forgiveness, real forgiveness that comes only through death and resurrection. He came into the world to die so that you might live forever.
So it is that we join the shepherds in hearing the song of the angels: Glory be to God on high and on earth peace, good will toward men. The song of the angels is now our song. We sing glory be to God on high because God’s peace now dwells in our midst. Jesus Christ, the prince of peace, even now descends from His royal throne to make your heart His throne. He comes to you with words of forgiveness. He comes to give you Himself. Take eat, this is my body, take drink, this is my blood. His almighty Word descends from heaven tonight, at this very hour, and comes wrapped in the swaddling cloths of bread and wine. On the outside they appear but nothing, but they contain the very Son of God, the Word made flesh for you.
When all was still and it was midnight, your almighty Word, O Lord, descended from the royal throne. So come to the Table of the Lord! Sing with the angels of heaven of the mighty Savior who comes as a little babe. Sing the song of salvation! Sing with joy of the love of God who comes to earth as one of His children. Sing and rejoice, for Christ has taken on your flesh and blood. He has become one of us, so that we can be one with Him. Who will receive Him. Who has the honor? You do, for He came to earth for you. He died for you. He rose again from you. And He will bring us home to be with Him, where there is light eternal, and where there is no more death, no more sorrow or pain. As the hymn-writer put it so well:
O Savior, child of Mary,
Who felt all human woe;
O Savior, king of glory,
Who triumphed o’er our foe:
Bring us at length, we pray,
To the bright courts of heaven
And into endless day. (LW 67:5)
In the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of Mary and Son of God. Amen. The peace of God, which passes all human understanding, keep your hearts and minds in true faith, unto life everlasting. Amen.