The Eve of Our Savior’s Birth
“What Child is This?”
December 24, 2017
Sermon Text: Matthew 1:18-25
Grace, mercy and peace be unto you from the Messiah, our Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.
Dearly Beloved of the Lord,
Again, a blessed Christmas Eve to you all!
Mary said it. Joseph said it. They both, as told… as commanded… called His name, “Jesus,” which literally means “the Lord saves.” They knew who this Child was, so meek and mild, lying there in that manger wrapped in swaddling cloths. They knew… they believed that before them was the Christ… the Messiah… their Messiah… the world’s Messiah.
Some three decades later, our Lord will ask His disciples, “‘Who do people say that the Son of Man is?’ And they said, ‘Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’ He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Simon Peter replied, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ And Jesus answered him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.’” (Matthew 16:13-17)
Mary said it. Joseph said. Simon Peter said it. Who do you say that He is?
“What child is this, who, laid to rest,
On Mary’s lap is sleeping?
Whom angels greet with anthems sweet
While shepherds watch are keeping?
This, this is Christ the king,
Whom shepherds guard and angels sing;
Haste, haste to bring Him laud,
The babe, the son of Mary!
My friends, whatever brought you here this evening… whether it was just plain old tradition, after all, that it is what people do on Christmas Eve…
… or whether it was because one of your children, grandchildren, nieces or nephews are singing in this service…
… or maybe… hopefully… it was because you truly know and understand the meaning and import of this holy night, silent night and what tomorrow will bring… and that there is no other place you would want to be.
Whatever brought you here, it isn’t as important as the fact that you are here… for it is the same as if you were in Bethlehem. It is the same as if you were there, with Mary and Joseph. It is the same as if you were there with Jesus… with the very Son of God in the flesh… with your Savior. Because you are… we all are!
He is present with us… as He has so promised… where two or three are gathered in His name here He is in the midst of us.
He is present with us in the Word spoken, He who is the Logos… the very Word of God made flesh.
He is present with us in the Sacrament that we will receive this evening, taking into our mouths the very Body and Blood of our Lord given and shed for us for the remission… for the full and complete removal… the blotting out… of all our sins. Not at the manger, but at the cross.
Whatever brought you here… isn’t as important as the fact that you are here… in God’s Holy House… hearing the very Word of God about the Baby born. Because here in this House is where faith is born and where it is renewed, nurtured and strengthened. Here is where you and I come to terms with the incredibly reality as to what Child is this.
It leaves us breathless. It sends us to our knees in humble adoration and praise. And we are filled with joy and peace in the very presence of the Prince of Peace… He who has come to earth… He who dwells among us… He who, in Holy Baptism has made our hearts His home… He who is our Savior… our Lord… our King… our everything.
There is your answer to what Child is this!
So bring Him incense, gold, and myrrh;
Come, peasant, king, to own Him.
The King of kings salvation brings;
Let loving hearts enthrone Him.
Raise, raise the song on high,
The virgin sings her lullaby;
Joy, joy, for Christ is born,
The babe, the son of Mary!
May the peace of God which surpasses all understanding, guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus, unto life everlasting. Amen.
“What Child is This?” 12/24/17 The Rev. Mark H. Hein, St. Paul’s Ev. Lutheran Church, Lockport, I