Herrenhuter readings for Thursday, the 25th December (Christmas)

Nativity-scene_GIOTTOThe eternal God is your refuge (Deuteronomy 33:27) And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)

No question: God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble (Ps.46:1). This is a great comfort and encouragement. And when the trouble seems greatest, God is near, he is able to deliver and he does so, when the time is ripe.

“When the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.” (Galatians 4:4f) That’s the greatest trouble of all, that we were unholy, unfit and unworthy of living in the presence of the eternal God – without refuge and help. Rather God himself was our enemy and distractor. That’s no way to live. On the run and no where to hide really. However God sent forth his Son, born of the holy Virgin Mary, made under the law, to redeem us under the constant and unfailing accusations of the law. No longer enemies, no longer victims of God’s wrath, but rather adopted sons with Jesus Christ our brother, our saviour and Lord. 

Now that’s his glory and special place in history, yes on earth and in heaven, that he has redeemed mankind. He has regained God’s favour for all descendants of Adam and Eve. No longer outcasts, foreigners or vagrants, but rather part of the family, dearest friends and heirs of the heavenly way of life. This truth we owe his grace. Without his mercy and goodness, which was revealed there on the field of Bethlehem to the shepherds in the wide open spaces and which called the wise men from afar to kneel down at the manger, we would have been lost, stranded and hopeless. Yet God did not reject and neglect us. He came and dwelt amongst us, so that we could behold his glory full of truth and grace.

So, come and see. Look and listen. Behold the glory of your king and hear his truth and be sustained and vitalised by his grace. For he comes even today – in his most precious gospel and his most holy means of grace. In the stories recorded for our benefit by the workings of the Holy Spirit through apostles and prophets of old in both the old and new testaments of the Bible he reveals himself as the one, who has come for us and our salvation. That’s what the Church year is about and that’s why we go to Church not just on Christmas Eve, but always, again and again, listening to God’s truth and grace. For it is good, meet and salutary to be in the House of our Father – better than otherwise a thousand!

Blessed are those, who still find a pastor and a church, who will preach the truth and grace of the eternal, the old God – and don’t digress into all sorts of myths and fables, morals and political correctness and other vain attempts of legalists, clowns, entertainers, bookkeepers, bureaucrats and lawyers letting us succumb to get by without God and without words of his truth and grace. A place where his grace and truth are proclaimed and shared for the benefit and edification of visitors, sharers and partakers in the holy things – and not just on Christmas, but throughout the year sharing the richness and fullness and joy and pleasure of God’s goodness and mercy, which are new every morning and are revealed throughout his wonderful lectionary and most holy law and gospel. The proclamation of his most holy will and the forgiveness of all our sins, so that we too can depart in peace and go our way joyful and glad. Amen.

And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. 16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. 17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. 18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them. (Lk 2:15-20) 

Hail the day so rich in cheer For each earthborn creature! God’s won Son from heav’n draws near, Takes our human nature; Of a virgin born is He; Mary, by the Lord’s decree, Is become a mother. See the miracle of love; God Himself, from heav’n above, Came to be our Brother!

Child of wonder, virgin born, King of all creation, On this happy Christmas morn Come for our salvation! Were this Child for us not born, We should all be lost, forlorn, No true hope possessing. Dear Lord Jesus, thanks to Thee Now and thro’ eternity For this grace and blessing! Amen.

Dies est laetitia (Is 9,6) Der Tag der ist so freudenreich. (TLH 78)

About Wilhelm Weber

Pastor at the Old Latin School in the Lutherstadt Wittenberg
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