S‑1089 12/24/2008 CE/3B Hymns: (O)#102, Away in a Manger #94; #87; #647; #95; #646
Texts: Micah 5:2-4; Luke 2:1-20; Isaiah 9:6-7; 1Timothy 1:15-17; Isaiah 60:1-3; Matthew 1:18-23
Theme: “This Baby is For You!” (Luke 2:12).
Armour, SD. SOLI DEO GLORIA.
Question: “Have you seen the baby lately?” (first mention in a sermon of my grandson Brody)
Merry Christmas to each and every one of you faithful followers of the Savior; the text for our meditation is from the Gospel lesson: “And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:12).
Saints in Christ, look at any baby, and there will be a smile on your face. As soon as we behold a baby we want to come closer to them. They make us feel so good and joyful. Babies do that for you. Babies are so tender and precious. Babies are a miracle of God
But a greater smile is on your lips and in your heart when that baby is yours. Ask any grandparent here what their grandchild[ren] does for them and they will tell you he/she put lots of joy into their hearts. 10 days ago, our oldest son Tony called us @ 3:19 a.m. saying, “Ba” (that is short for Baba, father in Arabic), you have become a grandfather. That little phone in the middle of the night didn’t disturb me, didn’t bother me, and didn’t irritate me. On the contrary, I found myself smiling and whispering to my wife, we are grandparents. There was a big smile on my face to know that I have a grandson. My own grandson and I couldn’t wait to see him. Brody Roy Nour came to live among us and grow under the watchful eyes of loving parents.
The next morning my wife and I packed our bags and drove to Denver to see the early Christmas GIFT that the Lord has given us through my son Tony and his wife Brenda. Even though the trip was long, it seemed short. Even though we were tired we felt energized. Even though we didn’t get much sleep, we felt vibrant all because of a little baby; a grandson who has come to the family by the grace of God.
As we walked into the hospital room there he was. How cute he was. How lovely he was. How adorable he was (of course, I am biased, but he really is all of that). As I looked at my grandson I had the biggest smile. I looked intently at him, held him in my hands and pulled him near to my heart and my voice went heaven-ward in prayer to the God of all grace who has bestowed such a lovely gift—a wonderful baby in our family.
Isn’t amazing how God works with His divine wisdom to bring such a gift to the world. What love is this that moves God to bring about human beings in such a way? What a miracle God packs into each of these little tiny babies. Look at the children around you now and you will agree, they put a big smile on your face.
Tonight, Luke invites you to peer deeply into the manger and behold with your own eyes a little baby wrapped in swaddling cloths. Look intently and you will see that this is not just a baby who was born long ago to Joseph and Mary in Bethlehem but He is born for YOU. This baby is Your Savior and Lord. This baby is the One who has changed History. This baby is the One who has come from heaven for you. This baby is the One who came as light to those who were living in darkness.
Look around at the manger and you will come to the knowledge of the truth that there is no baby like Him in the whole world. Ordained to be born into the world before the foundation of the world. He was the Promised Seed who will deliver man. He was born without sin so that He might take the sin of all of humanity on His shoulders. And He would do it differently than all other babies. All babies die for their own sin. But Mary’s baby would die for our sins and the world’s.
Why is He such a wonderful baby for you? Because His name fits Him well. The angel Gabriel told Joseph saying: “She will bear a son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins” (Mt. 1:21). This baby Jesus born in Bethlehem is the Savior of the world. The Old Testament Prophet Isaiah gave Him this name “Immanuel,” which means “God with us” (Isaiah 7:14).
The baby that is for you is the Savior, the Promised Messiah of long ago, the God who comes to dwell with us and in us. Even Jeremiah speaks of God’s great promise for you, saying: “I will be their God” (Jer. 31:33). He who promised to come, doesn’t come with pomp, or power or might, but in humility of a little tiny baby. There on the straw of the manger we see eternity unfold in flesh and blood. Look deeply and you will see eternity squeezed into time and space. Behold the baby for you and you will see the infinite packed into history.
Why is this baby so special? Because He chooses to leave the majesty and glory of heaven and come down to earth; and live among sinful people like you and me. Because He is the God who chose to be with us for us, and in us. This baby that we are worshipping tonight is the greatest package that we will unwrap and wonder about for years to come.
(With each phrase of that baby raise up the voice louder and louder. Point to the Crèche)
That baby in the manger, who scarcely can lift His head, is the Almighty God who holds the whole world together in the palm of His hands. That baby in the manger, who is rocked in His mother’s arms, is the One who Rules heaven and earth with His gracious hands. That baby in the manger, who is nursing on His mother’s breast, is the One who gives every living creature what it needs with His open hands. That baby in the manger, who depends on His mother and step father for protection, is the One who protects us by His outstretched and pierced hands.
What kind of baby is He? He is the baby who gives us joy because He came; who gives us love because He died; and who gives us hope because He lives. This is no ordinary baby, but the living Son of God who came for you. This baby is for you, and you and you.
When my grandson Brody was born, my wife and I drove 600 miles to see that little bundle of joy. Yes, my grandson is cute. My grandson is handsome. My grandson has put a big smile on our lips and in our hearts. But Brody pales in comparison to the Baby in the manger. The baby in the manger is the One who changes all of our hearts and we would want to come to Him at the manger to worship, and adore Him. We want to kneel at His manger bed and see our Immanuel.
This baby came for me a sinner. Even though I didn’t desire Him, He came for me and you. He came to save me with such love, that this baby traded the wood of the cradle to the wood of the cross. He loved me so much that He was willing to thirst, and hunger on the cross for me. He was willing to endure the suffering and shame for me. He was willing to be accused falsely in behalf. He was willing to die for me. He was willing to be forsaken so that I may never oh never be forsaken by God. PAUSE.
A Christian song writer Mark Lowry, wrote a lovely song called Mary Did You Know? Some of you may know it or you may have heard it. Here are the lyric of this song. Better yet let Mark say it in his own words.
Mary did you know that your baby boy will one day walk on water?
Mary did you know that your baby boy will save our sons and daughters?
Did you know that your baby boy has come to make you new?
This child that you've delivered, will soon deliver you.
Mary did you know that your baby boy will give sight to a blind man?
Mary did you know that your baby boy will calm a storm with his hand?
Did you know that your baby boy has walked where angels trod?
And when you kiss your little baby, you have kissed the face of God.
The blind will see, the deaf will hear and the dead will live again.
The lame will leap, the dumb will speak, the praises of the lamb.
Mary did you know that your baby boy is Lord of all creation?
Mary did you know that your baby boy will one day rule the nations?
Did you know that your baby boy is heaven's perfect Lamb?
This sleeping child you're holding is the great I am.
Mary came to know this truth by the power of the Holy Spirit and so have we. You know that baby is for you. Won’t you join me at the foot of the manger bed and thank God for this baby who has come for you. Amen.
Now the peace of God…