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The mystery of God's love

December 22, 2008

by Rev. Michael Nirva, St. James Lutheran Church, Howard Lake

The Word of the Lord: John 4:9 “This is how God showed His love among us: He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him.”

In a humble stable far away, in a town named centuries before in ancient prophecy, a little child lay nestled on a bed of hay. This child was more than a simple babe – for this child was the “Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6

In this tiny infant was centered the full measure of the inexhaustible, incomprehensible, and infinite love of the heavenly Father. The mysterious love so unknown and foreign to man in his natural state, which was eternally a part of God, became real and visible before the eyes of men.

No man brought Him down from heaven, no pleading, heart-rending prayers had forced the Father to sacrifice His Son, the Prince of Life. What was it, then? It was love in pure and heavenly form, love unselfish and of good will, love that took the form of the greatest gift the world can ever see or know.

Yet, the sending the Jesus Christ into the world by God the Father was absolutely necessary. Sin had come into the world. Through sin, man has lost his blessed connection with God. Now, a great chasm exists between God and man, a great wall between the Creator and the created.

Sin is the curse of all curses. It spells eternal ruin for man because, “The wages of sin is death.” Romans 6:23.

Sad to say, man cannot help himself or improve his sinful condition. He cannot by his power right himself with God. God is hopelessly lost. The sting of sin is always fatal.

But God had compassion upon poor, blind, sinful man. The Father sent His only begotten Son into the world. Jesus adopted our human nature for the purpose of helping us. Only Jesus, our precious Savior, could save us from our sins.

Jesus came to save the lost. He brought about our redemption and deliverance on the cross, where He was wounded for our transgressions that we might be healed and restored to grace.

We are saved by faith alone because of what Jesus has done. By faith alone, we are acquitted in the courts of God, not because we are innocent, but because Jesus paid in full for our disobedience. Now, there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. This is the good news of Christians.

It is no wonder, then, that Christmas abides through the ages and comes with wonderful force to the hearts and lives of people each year. For as we meditate upon the love of God that makes us heirs of our heavenly Father, the Spirit of God with hidden fire warms our hearts and brings us to the power and peace of our Savior and King.

Though many noises and a veritable Babel of confusion seek to crowd out the power of this eternal mystery of God manifest in the flesh to redeem the world and to transform people into adopted children of God, the joy and meaning of Christmas will break through. If only the ear will listen, and the heart will hear, the mystery of love will transform the sinful soul and bring the peace of God to the individual believer.

It is the power of the mysterious love divine so perfectly realized in the Savior born in Bethlehem, so completely executed in the Savior crucified on Calvary, so absolutely affirmed in the Savior risen from the dead, that changes us, that transforms us, and brings us to the life that befits heirs of God. It is the power of the Holy Spirit which motivates us to forsake the world and all that is evil.

The hope of life through Christ and the love of the Father exclude the old and sinful way of life. We are new creatures. We celebrate Christmas.

Therefore, with a heart and life cleansed by the Savior, we sing together with the herald angels, “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, good will toward men.” Luke 2:14

This is the mystery of Christmas, the mystery of love divine, of glorious eternal hope, of transforming power. May this mystery be active in us all, to give us a blessed Christmas – a Christmas which lasts always. Amen.