Christmas Eve Sermon: The Humble Poetry of Jesus’ Birth

So distant are we from creation’s dawn.  A time forlorn, forgotten by our fragile minds, when the Father spoke all into being, and formed a humanity in His image. 

 Too soon did defect begin to breed, to blemish and blacken a perfect creation.  For the man and woman, Adam and Eve, feast on what is forbidden.

But still aglow with daring love, the Creator will not give up on His creatures.  So, He steps forth to proclaim a pledge, of One who will brave the Serpent’s fang, unafraid to face the ancient foe. 

 Many epochs pass, and the Almighty selects a chosen people to survive and keep His unchanging promise alive.  So, He names Abraham to become the father of many.  Though they doubt and distrust the All-Knowing noble’s Word, His loyalty endures.   

 From slavery in Egypt, He unfetters His people, but soon, they rebel against Him again.  In love, He fashions manna for them to eat by day and, for fuller nourishment, He guides quail from above to fly their way.  In their thirst, He gushes water from a rock, and leads them to a fruitful land, flowing in milk and fragrant honey. 

 In plenty and want, still, our forebears grouse against God.  So, the Father focuses His prophets, to cry into their darkened chaos, pleading and repeating His prophecies of old.  In bountiful portions and various voices, they all point to the One to come.    

 The people wait, as Love and Mercy remain unabated.  By faith, we ache for God’s best pleasure to revive us with His Life, embraced and unmeasured.  So, in time’s fullness, from His generous love, God sends His Son, foreknown from ages past.    

 The Spirit’s Breath whispers into the ear of Mary, and a Child begins to stir with life.  An imperial ruling forces her betrothed, Joseph, a descendant of David, to return to his ancestral town.  Though bearing a royal lineage of generations past, no vestige of wealth remains.  Impoverished and near penniless, he travels with his unwedded wife.   

 Soon reaching the family home, other children of this long-past king are occupying the house, with the guest room filled to the full.  The only lodging—where animals are stabled.  Such modest happenings, which heaven is heralding in the highest! 

 Now, passing the threshold of birth, the Messiah enters a troubled and terrifying world, a feeble Infant for our salvation.  The events are simple, “She brought forth her son, the Firstborn, and wrapped him in strips of cloth and laid him in a feeding trough.”   

 Gaze for a moment longer, and you will find the most astounding Mystery of all breathing before you.  A pulsing Love, so entrenched, so vast, and so high, surpassing all thought and fantasy.  For not by any man’s lust or seed did this virgin true conceive.  For the Spirit, by His power, produced in her the fruit, the flower.   

 Long-awaited, only One, come and be a mother’s Son.  Gasp in awe all kings and thrones, for God descends for everyone.  Though He is now a woman’s Son, do not despise this humble Lord, swaddled and cloaked inside a cattle’s stall.  Musky scents and snorting sounds abound to parents, dropping in reverence to the ground.  For Christ, the Son of God, now clasps a mortal shape for mortal’s sake. 

 The poison from the primordial tree still claims our soul and steals our breath.  So, this Child comes to be another Adam to drink the dregs from long ago, to defeat the final enemy—death!  The bitter bite of nail and wood will wend its way to hiss and strike.  

 An Infant leaves the grandeur of His glorious realm, to bring God’s love in human form, to favor His people on the earth.  For He forges on for us Hell-bound slaves, busting open the everlasting kingdom for all believers, beginning with His birth.   

 More than unseen Majesty, He embodies what will bring us endless peace.  Yes, Peace prevails when darkness is half-spent on this night of nights.  So, others also need to bask in His joy, not in muscle and might but delivered to us in this virgin’s Boy.   

 Nearby, no-nonsense guards and watchers of the night are faithful keepers of their flock.  To do their tasks, they understand the course of stars, the snaring branch, the treacherous drop, and summer’s long-faded flight.  Now, in winter’s cold and shrouded haze, when blackness dwarfs the night, an intensity strikes with blindness bright, beyond the experience of their created eye.   

 A messenger breathes with resounding words, which will restore the world.  A vast army of angels appears, which turns the nighttime into noon.  Yes, this choir from celestial realms cleaves the sky with song and light.  The shepherding guardians of the night are stunned in silence, shaking and shuddering in their fright.   

 Glad tidings from God echoes in their ears, of a Deity close by who sheaths His might.  The herald touts of heaven among men, announcing to these scruffy sheep-men of old.  All is now calm, with hearts blessed by serenity again.  For this night, every son of Adam, every daughter of Eve, can glory in the God made flesh. 

 Take solace, you who suffer from your missteps and misdeeds.  No matter how difficult or desolate your life may be, God does not forget you.  For He is constant, upholding and keeping His vow.  The childbirth of a Baby, Jesus, proves this. 

 Listen once more to the message of the angel.  These are the signs spoken to dwindle your dread, so you can recognize your Redeemer is here.  In a cradle, so bleak and cold is enclosed the Promise so long foretold.  The Child, who honored the maiden’s womb, is He who frees us from the tomb.  With calm tranquility from above, He approaches for all, to release us sinners from sin’s dark fall.   

 To all oppressed by sin-bound blame, God comes to don our brittle frame, so men made sad may dance again.  Tired, listless, and stung by sorrow, we need this Christ-born life today.  For only He can kill our death, for which He comes now to destroy.   

 So, ponder your response, on this holiest of days.  The flimsy fabric and failed facade of your wanton ways must shrink away.  For if you puff up with pretense and fraud, the less you will yearn for your Savior and God.   

 Consider if the Father’s Spirit withheld the life He grants to you in His only Son.  To this moment, to this day, you will be adrift, lost and undone.  The descent of Jesus to rescue and save exposes how the grave still subdues you as a slave.  For if He walks in your sin-born path, your wrongdoings and sins will endure the Devil’s wrath. 

 Slight of size and strength so mild, a Child humbles Himself to enter our strife.  To stoop so far displays to all what He will confront for our redemption and life.  With sinful people, He will live, abandoned and stripped, rejected and whipped, killed and entombed by His creation. 

 These vices lay bare the failings too familiar to us all.  So, don’t slink behind some hollow front, which discards your need for a Divinity so small.  To do such folly is to reject the value of the blessing to come, shorn of all hope and downcast again.   

 So, trust and rely on this Newborn this day, who stops the mouth of death’s ravenous grave.  For He descends to rise again, all to make sure you will do the same, to receive an inheritance past our every prospect and call.  In bounty and grace, He will stay with you in every turning twist and fall, in each depression and craggy peak you must face.   

 At life’s end, all your merits will not warrant an animal’s feed-box for your bed.  Still undeterred, our Rescuer arrays you in His majestic robes of virtue.  To feed you into eternity, He dines you at His Banquet Table.  So, when this reality of Christ’s presence takes root in your thought and holds your heart, hell and all its underlings cannot hound you down or rip you apart.  For you are His and He is yours! 

 Yes, the One delivered is Christ divine, the Sovereign Son of the heavens—God sublime.  With person’s face yet deity, He became incarnate to set you free.  A Child but also a Lord, heaven’s God in form and flesh, whom we adore.  Born two-thousand years ago, he still bends down to us below. 

 Gathered in His name, He is present, always the same.  Though now enthroned in heavenly height, He does descend to us this night.  Tucked inside the preacher’s word is Jesus Christ, our healing Lord.   

 To speak repentance into sin forgiven is our Lord’s mandate for His Church within.  So, when those words do pierce your ears, He is here to rid you of your fears.  Though grief still harbors in your voice, because of Christ, you can rejoice! 

 Today, your Death-Slayer draws near to you, to swallow up your oldest fear and pull you into perpetual bliss.  For He bars no one from this immeasurable wonder.  Yes, each of us can regale in this reason for rejoicing.  So, Satan, you wicked one, own now your Master, for Jesus is born, who brings new life, never-ending. 

 Let your soul resound in the angels’ refrain.  Celebrate and cheer, for the Son pronounces your pardon.  Take courage He stretches down to be born, to deliver to you your birth from above.  

 So, if you crept in disgrace and sin, live no longer in despair.  For One extends and reaches down, complete with creation’s blood and bone: All your offenses to atone.  Draped in a toddler’s softest skin, death’s Destroyer comes unbound, arriving to yank the evil down!  In His earthly birth are you, born into life eternal new.   

 This night, the conquering Light advances unbridling eternity’s beauty and splendor.  The saving Word still pierces the air for we who tread in dreary gloom and shadow of day.  For He bursts into our lives, dispelling all our darkness away.  Now, as heirs of heaven’s glory, you too can tell the Christ-child’s story.  Amen.