“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors.” Luke 2:14
Dear Redeemer Family:
We are in Christmas, or should be by the time that you read this. Christmas isn’t just a day. It is a season
also. The Season of Christmas lasts twelve days, hence the title of the song. Although Martin Luther maintained
that there were really only two Church seasons: Christmas to Easter, and then Easter to Christmas. In some ways,
that might be a better way to see the Church year.
During Christmas most people celebrate Jesus birth. But, it is much more than that. It is during Christmas that we celebrate and ponder the mystery of the Incarnation. God becomes a human being and lives among us. This is a great gift, and a great mystery. The Incarnation is literally the foundation of our faith. Indeed, our salvation rests on it. Our God deigns to become one of us. In Baptism, we are joined to him. In Holy Communion, we receive our Lord bodily into ourselves. As God Incarnate, He takes our sins upon Himself. As He dies on the cross, our sins are destroyed. In the Resurrection, Christ rises victorious over sin, death and the devil. And as He ascends to the Father, Jesus takes his human nature with him, and we are glorified. Think about that one for a minute. All rests on the Incarnation.
Being joined to Christ at our baptisms, we are now joined to him. In other words, we take Christ with us wherever we are and go. We represent Christ. That also is incarnational. We are made ambassadors of Christ. We are made co-heirs with Him to the Kingdom of God.
Christmas is much more than just a day to remember Christ’s birth as a human baby. No, all things are now changed because of it. Paul writes that, “Christ is a new creation.” And we are made new creations through him. All is now changed, and for the better. His birth signals our new birth. The old has passed away.
It is because of all of this that the angels sing out to the shepherd, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors.” This is all done by and to the glory of God. And we are now granted the peace of God, the peace which goes beyond all understanding. That is the gift of Christmas, the true gift that keeps on giving. We have these things through Christ, not just of December 25th, but rather throughout the whole year, and always. And this is the real reason why we say “Merry Christmas,” not just on December 25th, but always, always. There is no greater greeting nor message.