Sunday a. Christmas
Delivered By
Pr. Lovett
Delivered On
December 30, 2012
Central Passage
Luke 2:33-40


In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit.


Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father who in the fullness of time sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law to redeem we who were under the curse of the Law.
There is no greater thanksgiving and praise we can give to God than to speak of His Son.  To marvel at creation is good, for God has called it very good.  To wonder at all the many facets and wonders of life is to spend your time wisely, to consider the works of God’s hands.  You can give God credit for all that was and is and is to come.  But to speak of His Son, to give honor and glory to the One born of Mary, is the greatest praise and thanksgiving you can render to God.
This is what the prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel of the tribe of Asher did.  All her many years spent in the temple fasting and praising God culminated in this one moment that surpassed all the years gone by.  That very hour that the little Lord Jesus, just six weeks old, was brought into the Temple, she began to give thanks and praise to God for this little child.  No longer was the praise and thanksgiving to God in light of future promises, but now she praised and thanked God – as Simeon did – for the promise fulfilled.
The promise of God to His people has always been Jesus.  From Genesis 3 when we first hear the Gospel preached and learn that God will send a savior, through all the prophets and especially Isaiah, all the way to the angel Gabriel who came from heaven bearing good news of great joy that is for all people.  The promise has always been a Son: for unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given.
The Child born is a human child and so is born unto us, the race of man.  But this Child was not a child of the will of man or of the desire of man. This was a Child conceived according to the will of God by God, and so to us the Son is given.  He is a gift from God.  And so the greatest praise and worship we can give to God is to thank Him for and speak of His Son, the gift of the Father.
In fact, it may well be said that there is no other way to praise God than by giving Him thanks for His Son. A lot of people give thanks to God for a lot of things, even pagans and unbelievers thank God for life, food, clothing, etc. But only the Christian gives thanks for Jesus sent to be the Savior of all men; sent to be our Lord and King. Only the Christian give thanks this way because such thanksgiving is the Christian faith.
The Christian faith is not bound up in moral codes of conduct or particular views on political and economic issues. Neither is it a general thanksgiving to a generic God who may or may not act in our best interest, as the world teaches. The world teaches that if there is a God, he must be blind to our frailty and plight because he doesn’t seem to do anything about it. He doesn’t stop wars or floods or fires or gunman. He doesn’t seem to stop evil. But the Christian isn’t looking for salvation to come from calm seas and peace treaties and safety nets and so forth and so on. The Christian looks for God’s salvation in the Son of Mary. And we give thanks to God for His Son, not because Jesus is such a great guy and a great teacher, but because He is our salvation from death and hell.
That is what it means to have faith: to trust that Jesus is our salvation from death and hell and is our way to eternal life. True thanksgiving, then, is thanking God for His Son, Jesus, born of the Virgin Mary who was crucified, died, and was buried, and on the third day rose again from the dead and ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father almighty, who is coming to judge the quick and the dead.
By the Son of God, by Jesus who is the Christ, the Anointed One, we finally escape temptation and the power of the evil one.  By Him God delivers us from evil.  By the Son of Mary God establishes His testament, His covenant with mankind, establishes it in the blood of Jesus, promising escape from death and giving the gift of eternal life.
For the Son of Mary was not born for no purpose.   But He was not born simply to show us the way, or to show us God’s love, or to show us how to please God.  But rather He is the Way, He is God’s love, and with Him alone is God well-pleased.  And for His sake, because He is a Child born to us, to mankind, and yet pleases God, God looks favorably upon us.  Jesus has redeemed our name.  He has redeemed our reputation with God.  He has bought back our spoiled nature and makes it holy by His Spirit whom He pours out on us and into our wills so that we too may cry out with Him, the Son of God, “Our Father…”
And for this great gift of God’s love born of the Blessed Virgin, we give thanks to God.  Not by saying “thank you” or by sending Him love letters, but by gathering in His Temple night and day as the prophetess Anna did, fasting from the world and feasting in His kingdom by hearing His word and receiving His blessing.  We give thanks to the Lord God Almighty by receiving the Son given unto us.  Come let us worship Him, the Son of God, the Son of Mary, let us eat and drink in the great Feast of Thanksgiving to our God who so loves us that He gives to us His only-begotten Son that we should not perish but have eternal life.
In Nomine Iesu
+ Amen +