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My German Christmas Sermon translated for you! December 20th 2015

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My German Christmas Sermon translated for you! December 20th 2015

Do you have a Christian Birth Certificate

as Champions of Love and Forgiveness?

When my father, Pastor Rudolf Krey, preached for Christmas, he said that God always gave him spiritual presents in the form of new insights into the Christmas story. He would always be satisfied receiving a very few presents for Christmas, like a pair of socks or some handkerchiefs, some Half and Half tobacco for his pipe, and some genuine marzipan from Lübec, which we all helped him eat. But he really cherished those God-given insights.

I can remember one of his insights, which he considered gifts, namely, that the shepherds of the Christmas story were the forerunners of all of us pastors, because of course the word “pastor” in Latin means “shepherd” and the way pastors today proclaim Christ, the shepherds proclaimed the Christ-child, after they had heard the good news from the angels and had knelt down and worshiped the little child in Bethlehem.

I’ve also had similar experiences with preaching on Christmas. When I started using hand-gestures in a more dramatic telling of the Christmas story, I noticed a pattern in the gestures, where the “peace on earth” pointed to the Christ-child himself, as God’s Christmas gift to us from heaven, and the whole issue about whether this peace was promised to all or only to believers became moot.

The birth of the Christ-child is central to this story. But we and all children are enclosed in the Christ-child and that’s why there is joy at every birth. That’s why the parents beam with joy holding the new baby, even though the tears have not yet dried from their eyes.

The historical time and the calendar itself in those days was denoted by the reign of rulers and kings. With that the Good News is situated in history and intended to be taken historically. The Christ-child was born in the reign of the emperor Caesar Augustus when Quirinius was the governor of Syria. Today we would have to say in the time of the presidency of Barach Obama, in the time of Pope Francis and Gerry Brown, the governor of California to mark our time. We could say, this is the time that the Christ-child became born in the cradle of our hearts.

Now the heavens opened, (answering our Advent prayers) and the angel of the Lord approached the shepherds and the glory of the Lord shone round about them. We have to enlarge the significance of this birth, magnifying it, like we would with a magnifying glass or binoculars. It is so significant that the whole western calendar marks time before or after Christ. Anno Domini or AD means in the year of our Lord. Even if today we leave the name of Christ out of our dates and say “CE” for Common Era and “BCE” before the Common Era, it still starts with the birth of Christ. The calendar shows how important this birth is in our history. Not a Caesar, but Christ was born. The Roman Empire lasted for a time and other empires before and after Rome also arose only to fall again, but the heavenly kingdom of Christ will last from now to eternity.

Because its power is love; its promise, abundant life; its word is the truth, and it does not expand through coercion, but by free persuasion that leads to trust and faith. Christ did not send out armies, nor use the military, but sent out his disciples to carry out healing campaigns, to cure the blind, the deaf, lame, and mute. He left no bloody battle fields, but healing and the renewal of life in his wake.

That’s why Mary’s son, why Jesus birth has to be magnified, because it is so important. The Creator of the Heavens and the Earth, God the Father, whom this whole universe cannot grasp and contain, came to us in this Christ-child at the breast of his mother Mary, who then placed him in that manger.

The Prophet Isaiah said, “The ox knows its Lord and the donkey knows its master’s crib, but Israel does not know, my people do not understand.” (1:3) So check it out: although no animals appear in the Christmas story; oxen, donkeys, and sheep are all around the crib of Jesus, because of this passage in Isaiah. Thus the animals are there, but people, for the most part, have no room in the inn of their hearts for God and God’s dear Son.

That is why God chose insignificant and ordinary people, like Mary, who was young, most likely 12 to 14 years old, who then became pregnant with God’s Son and chose Joseph, who was probably already old. God chose completely ordinary, poor people, like you and me; the angels, too, did not appear to important, elite, and highfalutin people, but to poor shepherds, who even had to work the night-shift. And here we do not have a decree of an emperor, but the proclamation of Christ, where the last become the first and the first become the last. With that no one gets excluded, but everyone becomes enclosed in God’s love.

As ordinary people you and I are also invited to come to the cradle of the Christ-child, like children. When we worship the Christ-child, he is born in our hearts, “for unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given;” so that the glory of the Lord shines upon us, and the angels ascend and descend rejoicing over us, and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding reigns in our hearts, because we have become sisters and brothers of Jesus Christ, our Lord, and that means, children of God. That’s why we sing and rejoice, because God has done great things for us. Amen. (Psalm 126)

Written by peterkrey

January 2, 2016 at 5:23 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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