Friday, December 26, 2008

“Come Closer and See!” (Luke 2:15).

S‑1090 12/25/2008 CD/3B Hymns: (O)#87; #102, #109; #647; #95; (C)94

Texts: Isaiah 9:2-7; Hebrews 1:1-9; John 1:1-14

Theme: “Come Closer and See!” (Luke 2:15).

Question: “Have you seen the baby lately?”


Merry Christmas faithful followers of the Savior, the text for our meditation is from the Gospel lesson: “When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us’” (Luke 2:15).

Saints in Christ, the movie “The Note” is a story about a Newspaper columnist Peyton MacGruder who after a tragic plane crash, discovers a note that had washed up ashore. She believes that the note was meant for a child of one of the passengers. She begins a search of the note’s intended receiver. All along she discovers that the Note touches the lives of all who read it and gives them a second chance at life.

“The Note” shows how dramatically life can change in a spilt second...the need to make a connection and reach out to someone you care about. How often in my years of ministry have I heard a grief-stricken soul lament like this saying, “If only we had a chance for those final goodbyes, to offer words of reconciliation, to say I am sorry, I love you or share regret”. It is a heartwarming film because it deals with personal loss, broken families, past mistakes, and most importantly forgiveness and love.

Of course “The Note” was a movie written for Hallmark’s TV program with the desire that many people would buy their products.

Unlike the movie writer and director who wrote and produced this imaginary story, Luke our author speaks of another note. Not one written by Hollywood’s very own, but the God of heaven and earth. And in this note we hear a greater story of love, of forgiveness and grace. This note was not discovered by a journalist in North Carolina on the shores after a tragic plane crash, nor was it produced by man on earth. But, it was written down for us in God’s Holy Word as it was revealed by the Holy Spirit to the lowly Shepherds in Bethlehem.

On the night of Christ’s birth, the angels announced to the Shepherds the Good News that the Savior has been born. That night the angels gave a note to the shepherds. This note has changed their lives, ours and the whole world.

This is what the note stated: ‘Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us’”. Having received the message from the angels the shepherds left their flocks and went to see the new born Savior. What a night it must have been for these shepherds to look closely at their King and Lord who came to bring about God’s love, God’s peace and God’s forgiveness. PAUSE.

Perhaps by now you have opened your gift[s] (the one that special person spent hours looking for). You really like your gift[s]. After all this is what you were hoping for. Now you want to show it to others—your friends, family and coworker. You want them to get a closer look at it and appreciate it as much as you do.

Today, the angels invite you to come closer and see. Don’t just look but see what is laying there the God-Man in the manger wrapped in swaddling cloths for you. Do as the Shepherds did. They left everything they had—the sheep, the tents, the food, and in haste they went to see this wonderful news. Come, then, closer and take a look and see with eyes of faith the Savior born for you and me.

This day, by the grace of God we first see Yeshua, the salvation of the Lord; the Word made flesh, in a manger, a feed box in Bethlehem, the House of Bread. Therefore, come closer and see. See what God has for you. See the Good News of the promise in Genesis. See Him in His humility who lays in the straw for you. See Him as you have never seen Him before the God-man who comes to reconcile you and renew your broken relationship with your heavenly Father. See Him as the One who brings God’s peace and promise, faith and forgiveness, life and liberty.

Come closer and look. Don’t just look at the wrappings on the outside, but look into the heart of God as He lies in the barn. Come closer and look. Don’t look at the glitter and gifts wrapped with beautiful bows, but look at the Grace of God in human flesh. Come closer and look. Don’t just look at the light that adorns the houses, streets, and city stores, but see the Light of Christ shining in the dark world of ours.

And as you look closer, see that this is the most beautiful note you will ever receive. It is the greatest gift you will ever get. It is the grandest story you will ever hear. It is the most glorious event ever recorded. For in this little package we see a marvel of marvels; we see heaven opened, and love poured out on humanity. Come closer and see God sending His Son, to be the ultimate sin-bearer; sin-forgiver; and sin-healer. Come closer and see a heart that touches yours in ways that you will never understand. PAUSE.

May I ask you a question? Do you remember what you got last year for Christmas? How about the year before that? And the year before that? I am sad to say that I don’t remember many of these gifts or the notes that came with them.

But this note that we are getting today from the angels and the Shepherds is one that will last forever—because it comes from the heart of God Himself to you. Come closer and you will see that this gift has not been forgotten. It has not been packed and stored although some do; but is alive and well even today. This note and gift from God has lasted for a long time. Mary had it. The shepherd had it. Our parents had it. Our grandparents have it and now we are privileged to share it with our children and grandchildren.

That is why we need to come closer and see this thing which has been told us by the angels. For when we do, we see this Babe doing the impossible—giving up His life for ours. When we come closer we can actually hear Him say, a word of grace and peace. When we come closer we can hear His labored breathing, His blood running down His cheeks, the holes in His hands and feet and side; and the crown of thorns on His head. When we come closer we see the Savior dying for us—for me and you.

Come closer and see what God has revealed—His love, His peace and His forgiveness in the manger. Come closer and see the power of this note that has been conveyed to us by Luke from the lips of the shepherds, who got it from the angels.

The Note movie is a message of forgiveness and it has not lost its power. It is a message of second chance of broken hearts and homes and a message of reconciliation. In the movie the journalist Peyton MacGruder spoke how this note gives everyone a second chance at life, to correct past mistakes. But she never believed that the message applies to her until the final scene of the movie.

When the note was finally revealed to its recipient it had these words written on it. “To T, All is forgiven. Love Dad.”

As you come closer and look into the manger today, you will see a note. Not imaginary but real, with a true message from God our Father who says to all of us: ALL IS FORGIVEN. LOVE DAD.

Yes, the Father in heaven loved us enough to give us something that we can look closely at till the end of our days. I pray that we continue to come closer and look—look at the heave-sent messenger and Savior Jesus Christ.

Merry CHRISTmas to one and all. Amen.

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