Christmas Changes Us!
Christmas Changes Us from Head to Toe
1. It gives us feet that run
2. It gives us voices that sing and shout
3. It gives us eyes that see wonders
Text: Isaiah 52:7-10
It’s amazing how quickly Christmas loses its luster. Children pick up on this quickly, too. As toddlers, children are happy to open any present at all. It could be a pencil or an eraser or a new pair of underwear. They’re excited. They even love playing with the boxes.
Then they get a few years older and it isn’t quite as special anymore. My sister sent some presents to the kids this year. One of them wasn’t in a box. Noah squeezed it once and said, “Oh. I know. It’s a blanket.” As they get older the joy of gifts departs as they become selective receivers. “I didn’t want Batman jammies! I wanted Ironman jammies!” Even the toys that brought the funniest reactions and the biggest smiles are soon lying on the floor forgotten and broken.
This only continues as we get older. At a certain point in your life you don’t really care all that much about getting presents. You only want to be sure you got your wife enough to keep her happy for a few days. As you get older yet and your body begins to ache you see things like Christmas lights as a pain to take down rather than a joy to show off.
What is Christmas anyways? We have a little fun here and there. But we spend too much money. We eat too much food and feel like slobs. We scrub our homes from floor to ceiling only for family and friends to trash them the next day. We get a couple days away from work, but then we feel behind when we get back to work. Christmas is great, but sometimes it’s better when Christmas is over!
If Christmas has lost some of its luster, if you’ve lost some of your Christmas cheer, if you could use a bit of a refocus for Christmas and for your life, then listen to the joyful words of Isaiah this morning. He reminds us that Christmas Changes Us from Head to Toe.
It started already yesterday. It was only 9:00am on Christmas Eve but it was already happening: Noah saw Adam Loberger here at church in the morning and immediately he burst out, “Guess what I got for Christmas!” The two continued to talk over each other with excitement about all the gifts they got early and all the gifts they thought they were going to get for Christmas. The first day of school back from Christmas break is almost always a throw away day because (especially with the younger students) they can’t keep quiet as they burst out with the news of their new gifts.
Where do we find that kind of excitement at Christmas? Perhaps we should start by recalling why Christmas was necessary in the first place. It wasn’t originally. When God first created this world, paradise was perfect. There was no need for God to come to this world because God already communicated freely with Adam and Eve who were created perfect and holy, just like he is.
But everything changed quickly when Adam and Eve fell into sin. Perfection was gone. Paradise was lost. Open and free communication with God was closed. How could sinful people be near and see a holy God? They couldn’t. How could sinful people bridge that great chasm of imperfection? They couldn’t.
We still can’t today. As sinfulness was passed down from generation to generation, the sins have only become uglier and uglier. Humanly speaking, Adam and Eve’s first sins weren’t that bad. But look at the things that we do today!
We use God’s name like it’s any other noun or verb or expletive. We curse and swear and lie up and down. We’ve made lust to be just another human craving, almost like lusting after a person is as normal as being hungry for an apple. Dirty words, dirty thoughts, dirty actions. And somehow as if our own sin isn’t enough, of course our favorite books, favorite movies, and favorite TV shows have even more dirty words, dirty thoughts, and dirty actions.
John was very accurate with his description of our world in the gospel today. Darkness. This world is filled with sinful darkness. It’s like we’ve shut off the lights of holiness and righteousness because we would rather stumble around in our own sinful, dirty darkness.
This is why Christmas was necessary in the first place. We needed a light to shine in this sinful darkness. We needed a Savior to come to save us from the hell-bound journey we sinners were on.
What a loving and gracious God we have! Not only did he send someone to save us from our sin, he himself came to make sure it was done the right way. This is why Christmas is so special and so important. God kept this promise of a Savior. Even better, God himself came for us!
This is why Christmas Changes Us from Head to Toe. First, it gives us feet that run. Isaiah explains: “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!’”
Just as it’s fun to watch children run and tell all their friends about the gifts they got for Christmas, Isaiah reminds us how wonderful it is when we tell our friends about our greatest gift. How beautiful it is when our feet carry us from house to house and neighbor to neighbor to tell others the good news. In our culture, how beautiful the hands that proclaim peace on Facebook and by Email and in Christmas cards. How beautiful our voices that bring the good tidings and proclaim the salvation of our God that exclaim to all the world “Our God reigns!”
Christmas Changes Us from Head to Toe. It gives us feet that run to tell the good news. Like little children running to all our friends, we get to tell them about our Savior.
Some families open their presents on Christmas Eve. My family has done that as long as I can remember. Some families open their presents on Christmas Day. We usually save one or two for the kids on Christmas Day. (They’re from “Santa.”) It might be way past bedtime on Christmas Eve or way too early in the morning on Christmas Day. It doesn’t matter. When the green light goes on for presents, the whooping and hollering begins. It was late last night, but there were almost deafening screams of excitement. “Spiderman blanket! Two hundred piece dinosaur Legos!” “Princess dress! Doot-doot Dora!” (That’s what my daughter calls Dora the Explorer.)
Isaiah reminds us today that we have a similar reaction as Christmas Changes Us from Head to Toe, giving us voices that sing and shout. Verse 8: “Listen! Your watchmen lift up their voices; together they shout for joy. When the Lord returns to Zion, they will see it with their own eyes. Burst into songs of joy together, you ruins of Jerusalem, for the Lord has comforted his people, he has redeemed Jerusalem.”
In the ancient days watchmen would stand on the walls of the city. They would keep watch for danger to approach. But also important, when they would see their army return from battle victorious they would be the first to lift up their voices and shout for joy to all the city. We can imagine the scene of that army returning to a city in triumph. The people burst into songs of joy. The people are comforted that they have peace and safety.
This is our reason for joy and why Christmas has such a profound affect on us. Our Lord was born into this world so that he could go to battle. He came to duke it out with the devil, to defeat death and hell. So as we see our Lord lying in the manger today we recall that soon we will see him lying in a tomb.
Easter morning then is the day that we see our Lord return from his battle in victory and triumph. We burst out into songs of joy. We are comforted that now we have peace and safety, that the Lord has redeemed us from our sins.
Christmas Changes Us from Head to Toe. It gives us voices that sing and shout. How beautiful it is when we join to sing Oh, Come, All Ye Faithful and Joy to the World and all the other great Christmas hymns. Young voices, old voices, beautiful voices, scratchy voices, out of tune voices—they’re all beautiful when they proclaim the Savior’s birth.
You need a good camera lens and a quick trigger finger. But if you time it right or take enough pictures, you may catch that priceless look at Christmas. We got a couple of those pictures last night. That shocked look with big bug eyes and a smile that is beaming from ear to ear. Sometimes the camera can almost capture the joy that is found in eyes that have seen something special.
Isaiah once more reminds us today that we have a similar reaction as Christmas Changes Us from Head to Toe, giving us eyes that see wonders. Verse 10: “The Lord will lay bare his holy arm in the sight of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth will see the salvation of our God.”
Last Sunday in the song of Mary we heard a very similar message about the power of “God’s arm” performing mighty deeds. Today we hear it in the words of Isaiah. God will lay bare his arm for all to see. He’ll roll up his sleeve and flex his muscles showing off all that he has accomplished. What has he accomplished that he will show people? It’s what we sang in the psalm refrain today: “All the ends of the earth will see the salvation of our God.”
This is where at Christmas we stand with dumfounded, bug-eyed looks, and smiles that beam from ear to ear. We can hardly believe what we see! We see our God lying in a manger—for us! We see our God hanging on a cross—for us! We see our God ruling over all creation—for us! We see our God coming back soon to bring his salvation—for us!
Wow! Christmas Changes Us from Head to Toe. It gives us eyes that see wonders. Like little children seeing that great, unexpected gift, you and I see the salvation of our God which he has given as a gift to us all!
At times, Christmas can become rather old and mundane. Sometimes it seems a bit more like a hassle than a joy. So we search to find that “Christmas magic” or that “Christmas spirit.”
Well search no further. If Christmas has lost some of its luster, if you’ve lost some of your Christmas cheer, if you could use a bit of a refocus for Christmas and for your life, then look no further than the manger! There we unwrap the greatest present of all. Standing beside that cradle we behold our Savior like little children—jumping for joy, shouting and singing his praises, seeing what great things he has done.
“Guess what I got for Christmas! A Savior! Glory to God in the highest!”
Posted on December 26, 2012, in Church, Sermons and tagged Christmas, Christmas Day, Church, Good News, Gospel, Incarnation, Isaiah, Isaiah 52, Joy, Presents, Sermons, Watchmen. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.