Christmas Wonder and Awe
Christmas Wonder and Awe
Text: Hebrews 1:1-9
Do you still have that awe and wonder at Christmas? That’s what we are all looking for. We want that awe, that wonder, that feeling of utter joy at Christmas. You know the feeling. It’s when your child (or spouse) suddenly appears, having returned from military deployment. It’s that look on your kids’ faces when they see the coolest gift ever. It’s those quiet moments on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day when the whole family is bundled up in jammies and blankets and simply enjoys quality family time and reprieve from the bustle of busy life.
In Hollywood they call it “Christmas magic.” A lot of money has been made off the concept of Christmas magic. Whether it’s snow finally hitting in Vermont for Bing Crosby in White Christmas, or Jimmy Stewart finding happiness in It’s a Wonderful Life, or Ebenezer Scrooge learning to be generous, or a brand new bee bee gun in A Christmas Story, or a young boy riding The Polar Express to Santa’s workshop—we love to watch every minute of a story with “Christmas magic.” Why? Because we relate to this. We love to be filled with awe and wonder at Christmas.
So are you? Do you have the Christmas spirit this year? Are you filled with joy, wonder, and awe? Or has life burst your Christmas bubble? Too many bills to pay? Too much to do but too little time? Too many things on your mind? Too many worries? Too many problems? Too much life drear to have any Christmas cheer?
That’s very easy to do. Especially at Christmas, we can get caught up with the dead-end doldrums of life. We work, work, work putting in extra hours and overtime. Why? So we can have “Christmas money” and buy more presents and have more parties. And oh, do we buy presents. But if we can’t buy our family, our friends, or our kids everything they want, then we start to stress out about it, like it’s the end of the world if we can’t buy this year’s version of Tickle Me Elmo.
And oh, do we have parties. We go to parties. We host parties. We wear out every Christmas outfit we own. We fill our calendar so full that our off days make us more tired than our working days. And then we consume so many Christmas cookies and calories we wake up in the morning feeling stiffer than a gingerbread man.
Then our self-esteem starts to plummet. Here we are almost at January first again. And I’m going to have to go on a diet with a New Year’s resolution again. (Especially since I didn’t even start the one I resolved to last year.)
Speaking of resolutions, I promised myself, and even my God, I was going to read more of the Bible last year. I made it all of about six days before I derailed from that track.
It seems like nothing is going right this year! Here it is and it’s Christmas, and I feel like one giant Bah Humbug! I have family relationships that barely even qualify as relationships. I have debt. I have grey hair (or no hair). I have love handles. And I barely have a handle on life. Christmas awe and wonder? Not this year!
Even at Christmas—even at Christmas for Christians who know that Jesus is the reason for the season—we will quickly find that sinful hearts will lead us astray. We will get lost in our problems. We will get lost in a consumerist desire for “more” at Christmas. We will get lost a desire for Hollywood’s version of “Christmas magic.” Before we know it, we’ve lost the reason for the season.
If that is at all the case, then you’re in the right place on the right day, and the right section of Scripture is lying before us. If you want to regain that “Christmas magic,” that awe and wonder at Christmas, then look no further than Hebrews chapter one and its description of Jesus Christ. Review these verses with me and that Christmas “Wow!” will be right back in your heart.
We don’t know who the author of Hebrews is. But we certainly do know that he had something on his mind he needed to share. Many authors open their letters with greetings. “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus . . . to the saints in Ephesus,” or “Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ . . . Grace and peace be yours in abundance.” But this author doesn’t waste any time. He gets right to the point of proving the superiority of Jesus Christ the Son of God. He does this by laying out seven clear, rapid-fire statements about the superiority of Jesus Christ. We won’t waste any more time either. Let’s review what he says.
“In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways.” The Israelites were used to this. They knew all the great prophets like Moses, Elijah, Elisha, Isaiah, Jeremiah. They knew that sometimes God even spoke through angels to his people. But everything changed with Jesus. “But in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son.” This is why you heard Jesus called the Word made flesh. This is how God revealed himself as the Savior—in Jesus Christ. So here are the seven ways that our Savior Jesus Christ is superior to every one and every thing.
Number one: “[God] appointed [him] heir of all things.” Jesus is the be all and the end all. Like an heir finally receiving an inheritance at the end of a life, Jesus is the one who will receive all glory and praise at the end of all time. Paul says in Philippians that on the Last Day every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. Wow.
Number two: “Through [Jesus] he made the universe.” Just as Jesus will have superiority at the end, Jesus had superiority at the beginning. He made everything in this universe. Millions of species of animals and plants. Countless stars. Planets that move perfectly in their orbits. A planet called earth with the perfect temperature, atmosphere, and environments to support the creatures he created. And the crown of his creation, the intricate beings called humans. Jesus made it all. Wow.
Number three: “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory.” The glory of God powerfully led Israel out of Egypt. The glory of God shook Mt. Sinai. The glory of God was so bright Moses had to wear a veil to hide its reflection. The glory of God filled Solomon’s temple with smoke. The glory of God lit up the night sky as a host of angels announced to shepherds that Jesus was born. The very inner core of that radiant light and glory of God is Jesus Christ. Wow.
Number four: “And [he is] the exact representation of his being.” If a king would take his ring and place it in wax, you would have an exact representation. A toy in a factory that is mass-produced is an exact representation. A picture is an exact representation. So this is to say that Jesus is 100% and exactly of the same nature, substance, and being as God. He is not just a little bit less or a little less powerful or a little less important. Jesus is exactly the same as God because he is God. Wow.
Number five: Jesus sustains, “all things by his powerful word.” Nothing in this world happens by chance. Nothing in this world happens on its own. You don’t have a house full of things and a wallet full of cash because you are such a great, crafty, or wise person. Every thing and every person in this world is sustained and supported, provided for and protected by Jesus Christ. Wow.
Number six: “[Jesus] provided purification for sins.” In the Old Testament God had many rules and laws about sacrifices. This complex sacrificial system communicated a clear message that death and bloodshed must pay for sin. Yet sacrificing all the animals in the world couldn’t fully pay for the wrongs I have done. Even my own death would eventually get me nowhere but hell to pay for all I have done. But Jesus sacrificed his holy and perfect life to be a one-time payment for all sins of all people. No animal, no human could ever pay for sins. But Jesus Christ paid for them all. Wow.
Number seven: “[Jesus] sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.” No human is able alone to claim a spot in heaven with God on their own. We sinners cannot be near him. But Jesus has the righteousness to pay for sin, the power to rise from the dead, and the glory of sitting at God’s right hand. The greatest position and place of honor that could ever exist—being at God’s side in heaven—belongs only to Jesus Christ. Wow.
Seven clear, rapid-fire reasons that prove Jesus to be superior to every one and every thing. Even angels aren’t even close to Jesus. Verse four: “So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs.” Not only his actions, but even his names are greater than that of the angels.
To prove once more how much superior Jesus is, this writer moves from seven statements of proofs to seven quotes of proof from the Old Testament Scriptures about Jesus. We have five of them in front of us today.
Quote 1 and Quote 2: “You are my Son; today I have become your Father,” and, “I will be his Father, and he will be my Son.” No other could ever say they are the Son of God. Only the second person of the Trinity, Jesus Christ, came to this world and took on human flesh to be both God and God’s Son at the same time. So since Jesus was both born as a human yet always existed as God, we can say that the “Today” in which Jesus was the Son of God is every day throughout eternity that ever existed. Jesus has always been God’s Son. Wow.
Quote 3: “Let all God’s angels worship him.” The first commandment is “You shall have no other gods.” God forbids us to worship anyone except him and him alone. So if God says that he wants all creatures, even all angels, to worship Jesus Christ—then Jesus must be God and God alone. Wow
Quote 4: “He makes his angels winds, his servants flames of fire.” Jesus has so much power as God alone that he commands angels and makes them do his bidding as his own servants. Wow.
Quote 5: “Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever, and righteousness will be the scepter of your kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy.” Here you have a unique quote from Scripture where God the Father is calling Jesus God in the first verse. Then in the second verse it is as if Jesus is calling the Father God. Confusing! But this is the mystery of the Trinity that we will never understand. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are all God. They can refer to each other as Father, Son, or Holy Spirit. They can call each other God. This is especially true of Jesus since he took on human flesh. According to his divine nature Jesus was God. According to his human nature, the Father is God. Both are true statements. And as true God and true man Jesus lives and rules in righteousness and perfection forever and ever. We do not understand this, but we still say the same—Wow.
There are a lot of things not right with this world right now. There are a lot of things not right with my life right now. With so many problems, with so much busyness, with so much sin, I quickly get lost. Christmas is just one example. Before I know it, I get caught up in some imaginative desire for “Christmas magic,” and suddenly I have lost the reason for the season.
Refocus your attention this Christmas Day. It’s easy to regain the Christmas awe and wonder. Look to the very beginning before creation. Look to the very end at Judgment Day. Look to the manger. Look to the cross. Look to the empty tomb. Look to the right hand of the Father. In each place you will see Jesus. In each place you will see your God. In each place you will see your Savior. And at the manger, the cross, the tomb you will see that this God-Man entered this world for you, so you could enter his world forever. Wow.
Christ the King Lutheran Church and School is a Christian church and Christian school / private school located in Palm Coast, FL.
Christ the King Church and School
5625 N. US HWY 1
Palm Coast, FL 32164
Posted on December 27, 2013, in Church, Sermons and tagged Awe, Christ, Christmas, Christmas Presents, Church, Divine Nature, God Man, Hebrews, Hebrews 1, Human Nature, Jesus, Jesus Christ, Presents, Sermons, Wonder. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.