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A Savior born to us

December 27, 2017

For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace
Isaiah 9:6

Today, Christmas is considered a family holiday. We enjoy meals in common, we sing Christmas hymns and we are happy for the many gifts! For people who don’t have family, parties are often difficult to pass.
But it doesn’t matter, whether in a family or not, during Christmas Christians celebrate that God allows us to belong to his family. Although we often ignore God or even reject him and his church, he sent his Son Jesus so that we can once again have a relationship with him.

A child has been born. So what? Every day around 300,000 children are born in our world. Why do we celebrate the birth of a single child? In addition, this child came to the world under very special circumstances, but that was a very long time—two thousand years. Why do we celebrate the birth of this child in such a special way on this day? The answer is given by the little word: “us.” In the book of the prophet Isaiah it reads: “a child was born to us”. It is nevertheless thus: when a child is born somewhere, one hardly reacts. But when a baby is born within one’s family, it is an event of great joy. Then there is no other topic of conversation: a child has been born to us, a person has been born and it touches every family personally. And the same thing happens with the child in the manger: it is not simply that he comes to the world but that he comes to the world for us, for each of us personally, “A child was born to us”. It was born not only in our midst, but for us. The Christmas story is not a beautiful story of distant times, but an event that has to do with all the families of the world and that is related to each and every one in particular. This “us” is decidedly important. Luther highlighted it in the Small Catechism in part of the Holy Communion:
“Given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins”.

When a child is born, many ask: What’s his name? Yes, what is the name of the child that was born? His name is Jesus and to us the name means: “saviour”, “redeemer”, “healer”. God, through this child, wants to save, redeem and heal us. He wants to get us out of the swamp of guilt and pain in which we are more or less stuck. He wants to free us from all the evil bonds that prevent us from living a good life. He wants to heal that which is destroyed and more than anything, heal our relationship with God. From there everything else can be healed.

“A child is born” is nothing other than the message of the angel: “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you”. (Lk 2:11) But Jesus is not the only name of the child; He has other names. We hear from the prophet Isaiah:
“Wonderful Adviser or Counselor and Mighty God.
He will also be called Father Who Lives Forever
and Prince Who Brings Peace”
What powerful names for a baby! But this is what it is about: with these names we are going to experience that this apparently helpless child is very powerful—powerful enough to be our Saviour, redeemer and Healer. This child is almighty, is also called eternal Father, and is the only begotten Son of God the Father, the Almighty. With Jesus it is different from all the other “heroes” of the world we know: They have a great mouth and a certain attitude, but they cannot really help and do something sensible. Jesus Child, on the other hand, seems to be small, weak and helpless, but He is really the Saviour, Redeemer, Admirable Advisor, Strong God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. The child also has more names: He is called Christ, Messiah, the Anointed, the Son of God, the Son of Man, Son of David, Son of Mary and Emmanuel, which means: “God with us”. And there we meet again this little word “us” that touches each one of us. “A child has been born to us”
Some hymns say: “We sing to you Emanuel, Prince of Peace and source of Grace / Flower of the sky and morning star / you are the Son of the Virgin, Lord over all the lords”.

There is a German saying and song which goes: “Everything has an end, only the sausage has two.” Today, some may want this preaching to come to an end, and I won’t disappoint you, I’ll finish in a moment. Yet for a couple of days we will continue to remember Christmas and then everything will be over. In one week the year will end. All human life also comes to an end and finally, even this world as we know it. But what has started with the birth of this child will never end.
Isaiah prophesied:
“Of the greatness of his government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty
will accomplish this.”(Is 9: 7)
Even though Jesus later died on the cross, he rose from the dead, lives and reigns for eternity. And he is always here among us and with those who believe in him.

God wants to have us in his family again, even though we may be deserving of punishment for not wanting to know anything about Him. His invitation is clear: From being enemies we can become his friends and family—now and for all eternity. This is a good reason to celebrate Christmas and to tell it to friends and the whole family. The decision of whether you accept God’s gift of a new life with Jesus is up to you. If you want to know and experience more about what Jesus has done for you and what it means to give your own life to Him, we will gladly help you in this church.

Whoever trusts in Him and accepts Him as his Lord and Saviour can be led through death and inherit wonderful, eternal life in heaven. Everything has an end, this message also, this Christmas, this year and the entire world, but the lordship of Jesus Christ has no end and we too will not have an end because he has come for us as our Saviour and because we want to belong to Him. Amen.

I wish you all a very merry Christmas!
Rev. E. Pellini

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