“The angel said to them, ‘Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all the people; for there is born to you this day a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” —Luke 2:10
The Gospel teaches that Christ was born, and that he died and suffered everything on our behalf, as is here declared by the angel. In these words you clearly see that he is born for us.
He does not simply say, Christ is born, but to you he is born. Neither does he say, I bring glad tidings, but to you I bring glad tidings of great joy. Furthermore, this joy was not to remain in Christ, but it shall be to all the people. This faith no condemned or wicked man has, nor can he have it. Christ has a pure, innocent, and holy birth. Man has an unclean, sinful, condemned birth; as David says, “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity” (Psalm 51:5). Nothing can help this unholy birth except the pure birth of Christ. For this purpose Christ willed to be born, that through him we might be born anew.
O, this is the great joy of which the angel speaks. This is the comfort and exceeding goodness of God that, if anyone believes this, he can boast of the treasure that Mary is his rightful mother, Christ his brother, and God his father. For these things actually occurred and are true, but we must believe. This is the principal thing and the principal treasure in every Gospel. Christ must above all things become our own and we become his.
This is what is meant by Isaiah 9:6:
“Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given.” To you is born and given this child. . . The Gospel does not merely teach about the history of Christ. No, it enables all who believe it to receive it as their own, which is the way the Gospel operates. Of what benefit would it be to me if Christ had been born a thousand times, and it would daily be sung into my ears in a most lovely manner, if I were never to hear that he was born for me and was to be my very own? If the voice gives forth this pleasant sound, even if it be in homely phrase, my heart listens with joy, for it is a lovely sound which penetrates the soul.
From Watch for the Light: Readings for Advent and Christmas, Plough Publishing 2001, from Martin Luther, “Sermon for Christmas Day, Luke 2:1–14” (1521-22) in The Sermons of Martin Luther, (Minneapolis, MN: Lutherans in All Lands Press, 1906). Courtesy of Grace Presbyterian Church of Houston, TX.
Special Christmas Wishes to All!