Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church

A Congregation of Lutheran Church-Canada

Scripture & Sermons

Christmas Eve AD 2023 2023-12-24


Luke 2:1-14
In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

The bigger the better. Yes, sadly in many a home that’s what Christmas is all about. Long gone are the days when a simple book, one special toy or just a sweet orange was a big deal on Christmas. A good Christmas is a big Christmas, the bigger the better. But why should Christmas be any different than everything else in our big box store world. The small, the lowly, the poor, the plain, these are all despised in just about every area of life. No, there are not too many social media posts out there about how unsuccessful, boring and dull your life is or how your work and family life is a bit of a train wreck. No, it’s all about living your best life, about being the happiest and healthiest that you can be, about being at the top of your game all the time. Whatever doesn’t measure up is best left unmentioned and covered up, conveniently forgotten.

The bigger and stronger the better, is the way that it goes with so so much in our world and lives. Old, used up, worn out things are not good for anything, our landfills are full of them, as are sadly, in some ways, are our nursing homes. Yes, sadly, as we think about stuff, so we think about people, or ourselves at least, as I have heard time and again from older people, and others who struggle with weakness from age and disease. Old, used up and worn out, good for nothing is how they often feel.

The small weak things of the world are despised in so many ways, which is why we hate to be small and weak or used up and worn out, because then we’re afraid that we are good for nothing. But like it or not we all start out small and weak and one day we will all be used up and worn out. No, it’s not nice to think about, as we hate to see it happening to those that we love, in no small part, perhaps, because it reminds us that one day we will be like them. Yes, even if we eat right and exercise and take every vitamin and supplement known to modern man. Like it or not we will end life much as we began it, and no, we don’t like it, not one bit, because we don’t like being weak and needy, because we have been deceived into thinking the what is weak and needy is good for nothing.

But the Lord overthrows that lie this evening with the weak and needy little baby that He lays in the manger before your eyes in His Word. A weak and needy little baby who is the Saviour of the world who is your Saviour and my Saviour. A weak and needy little baby who is Christ the Lord, who will go on to live life until He ends it used up and worn out hanging on a cross suffering and dying to save you. The world scoffs at Him lying in the manger and mocks and scorns Him as He hangs dying on the cross, but with this weak needy little baby in the manger and with this used up worn out man breathing out His last breath upon the cross, God is doing His greatest and most powerful work. He is wiping out sin, overcoming Satan and overthrowing death.

Knowing the truth that the weak needy baby lying in the manger and that the used up worn out man on the cross is the Son of God made flesh, you can’t stand at the stable or on Golgatha and think that He is good for nothing. So too as baptized children of God, who have Christ in us as surely as the manger and the cross held Him, we should not stand before the mirror and think this way about ourselves or any other child of God or the Church either, no matter how weak and needy or used up and worn out, we, or they, or it might be. God’s power is made as perfect in them as it was made perfect in the baby lying in the manger and the man dying on the cross. Which is why God allows us to be weak and needy at times and used up and worn out with disease or age as time passes so that His power can be perfected in us.

As Luther once said, God only creates out of nothing and so until we become nothing, God can do nothing with us. No, beloved, the weak and needy and used up worn out things of this world are not good for nothing, they are in a very real way the only things that are good for anything, because God’s power is made perfect in weakness. And so God chooses what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. Yes, beloved, God chooses what is foolish in the world to shame the wise and what is weak in the world to shame the strong. And so, when you are weak and needy and used up and worn out do not judge yourselves by worldly standards but look to the manger and the cross and know just how valuable and precious you truly are with Christ in you.

Remember in those times how Son of God became a little baby for you on the first Christmas so the He could be weak and worn out for you on the cross. He became weak and was worn out for you in every way so that in God’s power He could overpower sin, death and hell for you. Remember all of that, beloved, when the evil one tempts you to believe that you are useless in your worn out weakness and good for nothing. Refuse to judge yourselves by worldly standards, but know for certain that you are always good for something and precious in God’s sight, because like the manger and the cross, as His baptized children He has placed His greatest treasure within you - His only begotten Son, the Saviour of the world. Amen.