12-25-23 Christmas Day

Bible Text: John 1:1-14 | Preacher: Pastor Christian Preus

The Word is the eternal Son of the Father. He was in the beginning with God, through Him everything was created. And the first thing He created was light. That light shows and was always meant to show beautiful things, because everything God made is good, beautiful. He made light shine so that everyone can see God’s design of the heavens and the earth, God’s order, the beauty everywhere, including all the quaint pictures of Christmas that inspire the sentimental in us – snow falling, kids bundled up and laughing, hot cocoa by the fire, all is pure, all is bright. That’s what the Word spoke into existence in the beginning, a light that lit up beauty and goodness and happiness everywhere.

It’s important for us to know that this is always what God’s created light is meant to show. It is only by accident, that is, by our fault, that it shows anything else. Light wasn’t created to show the ugly, the sin, the corruption, the death, the wicked and selfish acts. If light could talk, it would object and say to the Word that created it, “You made me to look on good and show it to the world, you gave me the happiest job of all creation, but now look and see what my light shows – instead of men thanking and praising their Creator it shows them ignoring Him and complaining against Him, instead of children happily obeying, it shows them disrespecting, instead of beautiful bodies thriving, it shows them sick and growing old and dying, instead of happy marriages it shows selfishness and divorce and deeds that used to be done only in darkness but are now done in my light, instead of generosity and giving, it shows greed and taking.” And light’s complaint is just. It is part of the groaning of all Creation St. Paul talks about, that all Creation waits for the recreation, for the revealing of the sons of God.

So the Word who created light, becomes flesh and dwells among us. And He calls Himself the life that is the Light of men. He is the true Light that gives light to every man entering the world. He is the archetype of light. Light does what light does, because the true Light, the uncreated Light, does what He does. It shines, because He shines. It shows beauty, because He shows beauty. This is why it was so natural for the first words the Word spoke at creation to be, “Let there be light.”

So Jesus, the Light, shows the good, the true, the beautiful. It is what He shows by nature. It is only by accident, only by our fault, that He shows anything else. The Word shines and His shining is a form of speaking, and His light speaks beautiful things. First of His Father. When He shines on His Father He speaks of pure Love, He speaks of the God who wants us as His children forever, who desires us joined within the communion of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, as He meant for us in the beginning when He created us in the image of His Son.

But once again the Light objects, “Father, you begot me from eternity to show Your love, but my Light shines and it shows your anger against the sins of men; and now my Light shines on my image that you put into the hearts of man and it shows nothing but darkness.” And His complaint is just. It is not the Father’s nature to be angry and it is not ours to be sinners. The light Jesus shines should have shown nothing but love in God and nothing but goodness in man. But now the Word shines and shows God angry and justly angry and horribly angry at the wickedness of our hearts and our words and our actions and what we have become and what we have done to His beautiful world. And the Word shines in the darkness and it shows us sinners who cannot do what God created us to do, cannot love and trust in Him above all things and love one another above ourselves. The Light shines and it shows darkness.

So the Father sends His Word into the world. The Creator takes on Creation. The Word becomes flesh and dwells among us. And this so that the true Light can do again what He has done from eternity, and that is to show the good and the beautiful and the true, show the Father. No one has seen God at any time. But the only God, who dwells in the bosom of the Father, He has revealed Him.

This is our Savior, who is Christ the Lord. This is why at His birth, the darkness of the night is filled with the brightness of the glory of God, as St. Luke tells us, “And the glory of the Lord shone round about them.” This is uncreated Light. It is the light that comes from the Word, the true Light. And the Light terrifies the shepherds, because they are sinners, and it shows their sin and they fear God’s wrath, but the words spoken by the angels are the words dictated by the Word who lies a baby in the manger, “Fear not.” The light you see, the glory of God, the uncreated Light of the eternal Son, does not show you God’s anger. It shows God’s love for all people, for today in the city of David is born to you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. The word He speaks is that God’s glory, His highest glory, is found in that little child. The Word is now peace, peace between God and man, because God is man. The Word is goodwill to men, because the Light shining from that babe in the manger shows not a shred of anger, but pure love, in the God who lies there, and the Light shows no sin or darkness, but pure innocence in the man-child who rests there. There again everything is right and the Light shines and shows nothing but love in God and innocence in man. In this one Person, the Word, the Light, you see in brilliant splendor what the uncreated Light was always meant to show: God smiling on His creation, and Man united once again with His Creator.

And you see more. Because the Gospel is greater even than God becoming a Man, it is God living and dying for man. The Word who is Light will swallow up all the darkness of sin and death and corruption, all the wickedness of all men, all the things the sun and moon are ashamed to shed their light on, this Light, the true Light, will erase by His bitter sufferings and death, by bearing it all in Himself and consuming it in the Light of His love for the Father and for us. And the sun will refuse to give its light in honor of the true Light, until the light of Christ’s resurrection brings joy and gladness and victory and innocence and glory that is for all people. Here is the Light the darkness cannot overcome.

To those who believe on His name He gives power to become the children of God. This is not only a status, not only a standing of innocence and eternal inheritance before God. It is the power to see once again what the Light was begotten to show. To see constantly in the Father the God who loves you, whose wrath is erased, who loves you as He loves His own Son, who forgives you all and will make you to inherit eternal glory and innocence and righteousness. And to see constantly also the beauty of His creation, the order that He still maintains on this earth, the blessings He bestows on our families and our bodies and our land, to see it all in its true Light, that He gives all to us for the sake of Christ, who was born to us a Savior this day. Merry Christmas.

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