Showing posts from 2014

Sermon on Luke 2:22-40, for the 1st Sunday after Christmas, "Waiting for the Lord"

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. I hope everyone had a blessed celebration of Christmas, and that you remembered to keep “Christ” in Christmas amidst all the distractions and activities. For families with kids, the waiting is over. Presents have been opened, Christmas plays have been acted out, the stashes of cookies and chocolates have been raided. For all Christians who have kept the season of Advent, the waiting is over, Christmas has come and probably most of the hectic preparations are done, and our carols have been sung (but we’re not quite done yet! Remember there are 12 days from Christmas till Epiphany!). The waiting for Christmas may be over, but we’re not quite done with waiting, are we? Human life is filled with waiting—and there always seems to be something new to wait for. For Christians, the wait goes on for Jesus’ final return. We still wait for Jesus to come in His kingdom, power, and glory. But how do we wait, and what do w

Christmas Meditation on the birth of Jesus, 2014

            May the peace of Christ be with you! Another Christmas carol I love, we sang last night: Of the Father’s Love Begotten. The second verse opens: “Oh, that birth forever blessed, when the Virgin full of grace, by the Holy Ghost conceiving, bore the Savior of our race.” Truly there is no other birth in human history that is more blessed and more celebrated than the birth of Jesus Christ, our Savior. Great men and women through history have had their birthday’s celebrated and remembered locally, nationally, or even internationally for certain periods of time. But none has had even remotely the universal impact and recognition throughout 2,000 years of history, as Jesus Christ. All other notable leaders and their birthdays have ultimately passed into the recesses of our memory, and their names eventually disappear from the calendars. None have had the influence that Jesus had.             A few weeks ago I shared a quote in a sermon, from Philip Schaff, a historian, which

Sermon on 1 John 4:7-16 & Matthew 1:18-25, for Christmas Eve, "The Place for Love"

In the Name of the Father, who sent His Son to be the Savior of the world, and the Holy Spirit, in whom we abide in God’s Love, Amen. “Nesting” is a popular term nowadays, for the way that a young couple prepares their home, especially for their first child. Getting the nursery ready, decorating it, having baby showers, etc. It’s a way of preparing a place for the expected child, and a great deal of time and love often goes into those preparations. It’s at least one way of dealing with the long wait till childbirth. We don’t actually know how long Joseph and Mary spent in Bethlehem before Jesus was born—Luke simply tells us “ while they were there, the time came for her to give birth .” This may run against popular notions of Mary going into labor in the moments of their arrival, followed by a frantic search for accommodations. “ While they were there, the time came …” could mean a day, a week, or more. But that’s not so important, which is why those details are not included. Bu

Sermon on Luke 1:26-38, for the 4th Sunday in Advent, "King of the House of Jacob"

In the Name of Him who strengthens us according to the Gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, Amen. As we are ever so close to Christmas, the miracles surrounding Jesus’ birth jump out at us from the text. The unexpected visit of the angel Gabriel, to the Virgin Mary; his announcement of her conception of the Holy Child, Jesus, the Very Son of God; this child’s coming eternal kingdom. It was a troubling greeting for Mary—trying to sort out why she, a lowly maiden, would receive such a visit from an angel. But as Gabriel assured her of God’s favor, it became clear that the joy and honor to give birth to the Savior would be hers. She would fulfill the centuries old prophecy, that a virgin would conceive and give birth to a Son—Emmanuel, God with us. It’s all plainly miraculous and wonderful—but how all this would happen is simply explained: “For nothing will be impossible with God.” No further explanation needed. The same God that called all reality into existence and called ou