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The Light Shines forth upon Us

St. John 1:1-18

Pastor Mark Schlamann

The Nativity of Our Lord—Christmas Day
Zion Lutheran Church  
Harbine, Nebraska

Sun, Dec 25, 2011 

IN NOMINE JESU

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him was not any thing made that was made" (vv. 1-3). "And God said, 'Let there be light,' and there was light. And God saw that the light was good" (Gen. 1:3-4a). "The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it" (v. 5). Jesus Christ is the Light of the world, the light no darkness can overcome.

The Wise Men beheld the light that shone forth from the star and followed it to the house that sheltered the Light of the world, for this Light was a young child, full of grace and truth. The Wise Men came to worship Him in spirit and in truth...Jesus Christ, the Way, the Truth, and the Life. His life means life for us, for God has given us His Word, and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, dwelling among us now through His written and spoken Word, coming to us in His body and blood, and the blood of Jesus purifies us from all sin.

It is for our sins that the one true Light came into the world, for our world has been darkened by sin. Sin has darkened hearts and overcome us. We walk about in darkness, strangers to the light, "for although [we] knew God, [we] did not honor Him as God or give thanks to Him, but [we] became futile in [our] thinking and [our] foolish hearts were darkened" (Rom. 1:21). The sun is shining; the tree is lit, as are the candles at each pew, atop the altar, and on the Advent wreath—including the Christ candle. Yet in the midst of all this light, natural and electric, we walk in darkness, as we are creatures of darkness. We are not drawn to the Light, for we are by nature enemies of the Light. As a people of darkness, we do not behold the Light in His glory, glory as of the Son from the Father. His light has shone on us, for He has come to us, His own, He who has made us and has been from the foundation of the world, the world which was made through Him.  He came to us, and we received Him not.  Our faces light up when we open our presents, but we do not bask in the glory of the greatest Christmas gift, the one true Light.

But "the Light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it" (v. 5).  In the midst of the darkness of our sin, the light of Christ breaks in and shines forth upon us. In the words of Isaiah the prophet: "The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined" (Is. 9:2). The Light shone forth from the manger. When all was still and it was midnight, the almighty Word of the Lord descended from the royal throne, the Word who was with God and who was God, becoming flesh and dwelling among us; that is, He tabernacles among us, making His holy presence among us in this, His holy house, on this most holy day. Our Christmas presents waited for us under the Christmas tree. Our greatest Gift comes to us today under the tree of the cross, the body and blood of the Word made flesh, in, with, and under bread and wine. The Lord of life gives us life, for there is life in the blood. In Him is life, and the life is the light of us all.

The Light, Jesus Christ, bids us come in from the world of darkness and behold His glory, giving us a foretaste of His full glory that awaits us in heaven, when we shall behold Him face to face. "No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His servants will worship Him. [We] will see His face, and His Name will be on [our] foreheads" (Rev. 22:3-4), the Name He placed on our foreheads at our Baptism, sealing it upon us by water and the Word; by that Name He has given us the right to become the children of God, born not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. "And night will be no more. [We] will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be [our] Light..." (Rev. 22:5).

"And from His fullness we have received, grace upon grace" (v. 16), that grace He has revealed to us by shining His light on us, that we may be saved. And this, dear children of God, is the greatest Christmas gift of all, "the message we have heard from Him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all" (1 Jn. 1:5), for the Lamb of God, the one true Light, has overcome the darkness of the grave by His resurrection from the dead.  The time has come for us to see the light, the Light which outshines even our Christmas lights. Let us now behold the Word who became flesh and comes to us in His body and blood. This is God's Christmas present to you. A blessed Christmas to you all, and to all, God's light.

SOLI DEO GLORIA





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