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Immanuel-God With Us / For You! (Matt. 2:22-23) Nativity of Our Lord Christmas Eve

December 24, 2011

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St. Matthew 1:22-23


Virgins don’t have babies!  And God is way up there somewhere!  Right?


Ask any doctor.  Ask any man.  Ask any woman!  They’ll tell you that a virgin cannot have a baby. 


Ask the religion experts.  Ask the philosophers.  They’ll give you the answer.  God is stuck up in heaven.  He can’t enter our time and space.  He can’t get involved in this rotten, wrecked, world – or our rotten, wrecked lives.  He can’t dirty Himself with all our rot, gunk and filth.  He doesn’t dare taint Himself with our sin let alone the stench of our death.  For God to be God He must stay away and concentrate on Himself.  Think about Himself.  Talk to Himself.  Look at Himself.  Live for Himself.   


So since God can’t come down to you – YOU’VE GOT TO MAKE YOUR WAY TO GOD!  YOU’VE GOT TO CLIMB A LADDER TO HEAVEN!  How’s that been working for you?   


We hear just the opposite of the world’s wisdom tonight!  St. Matthew records the facts.  The truth!  Facts that go against all reason, experience, and all wisdom! 


The first is this:  the virgin named Mary IS pregnant.  Not by a man.  Not by Joseph.  She got pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit-filled sermon preached into her ears by archangel Gabriel!  Just as the prophet predicted hundreds of years earlier!  “The virgin will be with child and will give to a son.”  This virgin Mary did give birth. 


The second fact, just as Isaiah predicted, is this:  the Baby in Mary’s belly – conceived by the Holy Spirit, is no ordinary Baby.  Her Baby is Immanuel.  And Immanuel means “God with us.” 


Yes, you heard that correctly!  That Baby is God!  God is that Baby!  God is with us in that Baby!  When you see that Baby you see God!  There is no doubt about it!  Baby God Jesus is with us in all the muck and mire of our lives.  He comes into our time and space.  He interrupts our wrecked world and our troubled lives. 


Why?  For you, that’s why!  For you and for your salvation!  “To save His people from their sins!”  To save you from your sins.  Baby God Jesus is the reason for this season – AND MORE! 


He is the reason – the only reason — for your salvation.  For He allowed Himself to be tainted!  Yes, the Holy One of God, Jesus “who knew no sin was made to be sin,” (2 Corinthians 5)!  That’s Calvary!  That’s the Friday we call “Good!”  On Him was laid the iniquity of us all (Isaiah 53).  And so He was cursed.  He “redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us,” (Galatians 3:13).  “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46).  Suffering the damnation of hell! 


And then He dies!  God not only is Immanuel – God with us – but He dies!  As the only atoning sacrifice for sin! 


What is your sin?  Some you know.  Some you don’t.  Some you can’t quit.  Some you fight against with gusto.  Others you love to do.  Some bother you.  Some don’t.  I tell you that Immanuel God With Us Jesus died for all of your sin!  He didn’t leave any out of His bloody Good Friday death.  His birth is for you.  His death is for you. 


Tomorrow, He has more gifts for you.  Not under your tree.  Not in your stocking.  Will you come and receive His gifts?  Will you take the time to get out of bed?  Millions of Christians all over the world will gather to receive His gifts.  And what are these gifts?  Exactly what He says and promises in the Sacrament of the Altar:  “Here, eat this bread.  Here, drink this cup of wine.  This is My Body and this is My Blood given and shed for you for the forgiveness of your sins.” 


With such a Jesus – born of the Virgin – Immanuel, God with us – Immanuel, God with us on the cross — bearing all our sin and answering for them – God dead and damned in our place – God shedding His blood and offering His body in sacrificial death for sinners – with such a Jesus – IMMANUEL, God with us and for us in the Sacrament — YOU’RE NEVER THE SAME AGAIN.


And that’s spelled F-A-I-T-H!  Faith – it can’t live without Immanuel God Jesus and all His abundant and gracious giving at Christmas, Good Friday, Easter, Pentecost and every Lord’s Day.  Faith – it always depends on Him and Him alone!  The God-Man born of the Virgin – Immanuel, God with us!  God FOR YOU!


Have a happy Christmas!


In the Name of Jesus.

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