God’s Stupendous Sign
Christmas Message from the 4th Sunday of Advent, the Service of Lessons and Carols
God’s Stupendous Sign
“No trespassing!” “Beware of the dog!” “You’re in good hands with All State.” “Garage sale. Turn left.” “Children crossing.” “Stop.” Have you ever realized how much we rely on signs in our world? Signs direct traffic. Signs tell us where we live and how to find others’ homes. Signs tell us the best deals on pizza, which exit to take for gas, and how far it is to Miami.
There are other kinds of signs, signs that have nothing to do with traffic, locations, or billboards. We can read signs of communication in each other’s body language. When our kids wake up we know those signs that tell us, “Uh oh. This is going to be a bad day.” Some people try to use stars or their birthdays as signs (though they shouldn’t). Some see events in their lives as signs. The more you think about it, you realize how much our lives rely on signs and how much people want signs!
God knows this. God knows that we have ruined the perfection he created. God knows that we are sinful. God knows that we forget. We doubt. We worry. We become unsure. God knows this. So throughout the ages God has often used signs.
When Noah came out of the ark, God made the rainbow and used it as a sign that he would never destroy the world with a flood again. When Moses led the people out of Egypt, God went before them as a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night—visible reminders that he really was present. God strengthened Gideon’s feeble faith when a piece of fleece was left over night and was found dry when the ground was wet, and other day the fleece was wet and the ground was dry.
Zechariah was given a sign. He didn’t believe the angel that his wife Elizabeth would have a child. So God took away his ability to speak until his son John would be born. John the Baptist then prepared the way for another special child. The shepherds were given a sign by the angels: “This will be a sign to you: You will find the baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
But there is one sign greater than all the rest. Its message is bigger than any billboard could contain. It shines more brightly than all the neon “Eat at Joe’s” signs in the world. It reveals more than any sign could ever achieve. You heard about it in the song that we just sang: This sign is God’s stupendous sign.
What is this sign? Not what, but who. God’s stupendous sign is the Star Child, Jesus Christ. Do you want to know how God feels about you? Then look at the Word who became flesh for you. Do you want to know how much God loves you? Then look at the baby in Bethlehem who would soon be on a cross on Calvary. Do you want to know if God could forgive your sins? Then look at the wounds of the Savior. Do you want to know if you will have life in heaven? Then look at the empty tomb.
I don’t believe I’ve ever used the word stupendous when describing Jesus before. But the modern poetry of that song is right. Jesus is God’s stupendous sign. When we look at Jesus we see a God who loves us enough that he would take on flesh to live among us. We see a God who is merciful enough that he would become heaven’s lightning-rod that deflects the Father’s anger. We see a God that is powerful enough to destroy sin and death and win salvation for us sinners.
If you want to see God, if you want to see love, if you want to see your Savior, then look no further than God’s stupendous sign, Jesus Christ.