ZLC Sunday School Christmas
December 14, 2014
Ah, Sunday School programs, extravagant or simple, great many children or simply a few. There is something about hearing the Christmas story again, especially through the voices of our children. It reminds me of what happens with Jesus right after His triumphal entry into Jerusalem.
Matthew 21:15–16 15 But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonderful things that Jesus did, and the children crying out in the temple, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” they were indignant, 16 and they said to him, “Do you hear what these are saying?” And Jesus said to them, “Yes; have you never read, “‘Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babies you have prepared praise’?” (Psalm 8:1)
Why do we do this? First, to help our children know the story. To make them part of the story of God’s salvation in Christ Jesus. To believe that Christmas is not just some historical event, but matters still today. To join their voices with the angels and the shepherds in proclaiming the wonder of the God become man.
The incarnation of Jesus matters so much, it is so important that we spend 4 weeks preparing for it in the season of Advent and 12 days celebrating it. We need Advent, we need the preparation, we need to hear the voice of one crying out in the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord. We need to hear it again because we are lured into thinking that our sins are neither threatening nor dangerous. Advent is a season not just of preparation and hope and anticipation, but of repentance while we wait for Christ. Of the recognition that we need the Savior to come into the world, for us men and for our salvation.
So yes, we need to hear this story again and again. To hear it anew. To, like Mary, treasure up all these things, pondering them in our hearts. The Christian life involves always remembering our Lord Jesus who came, rejoicing as He come now in Word and Sacrament, and preparing our hearts for that time when He will come again on the Last Day.
What a wonderful thing that is! The hear, to remember, to ponder that the King Adventing Himself into the world, especially in such a mundane way, to die such a gruesome death, and to win such a wonderful life. That wonderful good news that apart from all your works, despite all your sin, all your misgivings, all your fears that God would care as much as to send His Son into the world for such a person as you, through faith in Christ, you are forgiven!
For Christ earned salvation for you by living the life you should live before God. From even before His birth, He was working for you. He suffered and died for the life that you don’t live before God. He rose again for your forgiveness on Easter morning. He is seated at the very right hand of God for you. He will come again in glory to snatch you out of this world of sin to be with Him forever in the new heavens and the new earth.
The Gospel never gets old for Jesus. He never tires of remembering all that He did for you. He obeyed all that His Father commanded. Each law, He kept for you. He then brought you out of your slavery to your sins. It is the beginning of everlasting life for you. There never will be any hell for you. There is no judgment for you. That’s for the unbelieving world. Your sinful flesh will never do you in, for it was crucified with Christ. And your eternal life is now secure in the pierced hands of Christ. That life started at the baptismal font and goes on for as long as your Lord Jesus lives. For every last enemy that would harm you is defeated by the Son of God who was born into the world.
That never gets old. You can’t hear that Gospel enough. If it starts to seem a little stale, you need to be prepared for the Lord’s coming by hearing it all over again. When we, like Mary, ponder, reflect, think about and struggle with, not only about who Jesus was but who Jesus is right now, and how He fits into our life, it cannot get old. When that Word of God is preached and teached, read and inbred into our hearts and minds, of who God is and who Jesus is as it continues to be revealed to us by the working of His Spirit.
The devil, the world, your sinful flesh have all been crushed for you in the death and resurrection of the Son of God. You are baptized. You are absolved. You have been fed the very Body and Blood of Jesus. When Jesus comes, you’ll see for yourself, with your own eyes and not another, the living Redeemer and Savior. Christ earned your salvation. He won it. He lived as you should live. He died the death you deserve. He rose again. You have been saved. You are saved. You will be saved. For the Savior comes with grace and mercy. That Gospel never gets old.