The Nativity of our Lord – Christmas Eve
“Es Ist Ein’ Ros’ Entsprungen”
December 24, 2018
Sermon Text: Isaiah 11:1-2
Grace, mercy and peace be unto you from the Prince of Peace, our Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.
Dearly Beloved of the Lord,
A blessed Christmas Eve to you all! The Prophet Isaiah foretold,
“There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit. And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.” (Isaiah 11:1-2)
And so it came to be on a starry night… that first Christmas night… in the little town of Bethlehem that all this came to be. The shoot… the branch that shall bear fruit and flower now appeared. A beautiful, delicate flower… so pure in the midst of so much ugliness and the filth of sin which clung to all mankind… covered all mankind.
A “shoot”… a “branch”… a “flower”… strange references to the Christ Child born that holy night – but not really… not strange at all. Very fitting in fact because the stump of Jesse refers to the family tree… to the line and lineage from which God said the Savior of the world would be born. He will be from the line of David, Jesse’s son. But that tree seemed to be nothing but a stump… void of all life and rotting away.
Nothing was happening… no growth in sight up until now… until that one glorious night that forever changed the history of mankind… indeed, the life of every man, woman and child who has ever been born… who has ever lived.
“Es Ist Ein’ Ros’ Entsprungen“ – A sacred hymn of the sixteen century… of German origin… the time of Luther.
Lo, how a rose e’er blooming
From tender stem hath sprung!
Of Jesse’s lineage coming
As prophets long have sung,
It came, a flow’ret bright,
Amid the cold of winter,
When half-spent was the night.
Amid the cold winter of our sin and in its darkness He came. A flow’ret bright… Christ Jesus… the Light of the world… came to us… this beautiful rose… so innocent… so pure. And for us to be here now… once again… to take it all in. What an honor and privilege to be here… just as great of a one as given to Mary and Joseph and to all the shepherds who came with haste.
To gaze upon our Savior… as the hymn goes…
This flow’r, whose fragrance tender
With sweetness fills the air,
Dispels with glorious splendor
The darkness ev’rywhere.
True man, yet very God,
From sin and death He saves us
And lightens ev’ry load.
He… Jesus… who will take that load… ours and that of all mankind… and bear it all on the cross. Remove it all… on the cross. So why do you and I at times feel the need to pick it up again… continue to carry… whatever weighs us down? There is no need.
We are free… in Jesus. Free… in this precious Child… the beautiful Rose born to us this night. Free from sin. Free from death. Free from devil and all things hurtful, harmful and destructive.
In the quiet of this night, ponder that dear friends. Consider that. Take it all in… into your hearts… into your homes.
What’s that phrase? Wake up and smell the coffee? Instead, this evening wake up and smell the sweetest flower ever. It is your Savior, Jesus Christ.
“Es Ist Ein’ Ros’ Entsprungen!“ Amen.
May the peace of God which surpasses all understanding, guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus, unto life everlasting. Amen.
“Es Ist Ein Ros Entsprungen” 12/24/18 The Rev. Mark H Hein, St. Paul’s Ev. Lutheran Church, Lockport, IL.