Christmas Homily 2020 (The Coming of our Living Hope) Back to all sermons

Special Sermons

Date: December 20, 2020

Speaker: Sean Grossman

Series: Special Sermons

Tags: Christmas, Hope,

›Christmas Homily

The Coming of Our Living Hope

The Coming of Our Living Hope

The story is most magnificent

Since the beginning in the garden the world had been waiting and hoping for Light to come and defeat darkness

There was no reason to doubt the promises

But the wait…

When all things would begin to be made right

When the promises would be fulfilled

It seemed like ages and ages…

But the wait was not in vain!

In this little town of Bethlehem He brought forth His most Beloved Son…to a young girl named Mary and her husband Joseph

Why in this way? Why Mary? Why Joseph? Why Bethlehem?

26 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” 29 But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. 30 And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”34 And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”

(Luke 1:26-34, ESV)

35 And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God. 36 And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. 37 For nothing will be impossible with God.” 38 And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.

(Luke 1:25-38, ESV)

The Coming of Our Living Hope

Mary is chosen to bear the Son of God

Betrothed to Joseph who is of the lineage of David, whom God promised to establish an eternal kingdom

A virgin in accordance with the Scriptures, “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means God with us)-Matthew 1:23, ESV)

Why Bethlehem?

“But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.” (Micah 5:2, ESV)

From Bethlehem, the place of David’s birth, such a ruler would come

The Coming of Our Living Hope

In this way our living hope came into this world

The Son of God, He came as a little babe

What is the purpose for this holy and solemn visit?

The fall and all darkness, and all the pain, and all the sorrow, and all the sin would become undone by this incredible act of God

The incarnation occurs because of sin, darkness, and death

For while we rejoice in the incarnation, we remember how this is truly the Lamb of God

As Joseph was told…

“Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”

(Matthew 1:18-22, ESV)

The Coming of Our Living Hope

In the coming of Jesus we find two great pieces of the puzzle of this world

The incarnation…the coming of God as man

The second is atonement

First known to Mary and Joseph, then to all of us at Bethlehem

The great God of all is now come to us as a man

This Jesus was born in Bethlehem, raised in Nazareth, had disciples

Those disciples said…

1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— 2 the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us— 3 that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. 4 And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.

(I John 1:1-4, ESV)

The Coming of Our Living Hope

It is real, God has come into the world to redeem the world for Himself, for His glory

This Jesus born in Bethlehem is not a myth, but a historical person

There is much to say about this event

This God who is far greater and far more than all else

He is here, in our midst

But the angels are the first to proclaim and praise this arrival

8 And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, 14  “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

(Luke 2:8-14, ESV)

15 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. 17 And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.”

(Luke 2:15-20, ESV)

The Coming of Our Living Hope

Humans and angels joining together in singing praises to God Almighty

Why? Because the world is begins to be made new

For we know, starting in this moment in Bethlehem…God is among us

Heaven came down at Christmas, love came down at Christmas, so that we could enter into heaven, so that we could know love

We know the story, we know the beauty and the mystery

The Lamb of God slain for us…so that we could taste and see and know the greatness of God

The Coming of Our Living Hope

Now, here we are, two thousand years later

We have had many individuals who are in sorrow today

Many who have lost jobs

Many who have become ill

Many who have died

We have seen lies and deceptions

We have seen all the brokenness this world has to offer

Dare we have any hope?

The Coming of Our Living Hope

That is why the Christmas story is so significant

We know that He has come, and His Spirit is with us

Our hope is not in the dead, it is in the living

He who conquered death lives today and knows our sorrows and pains

There is nothing which can separate us from the fellowship we have with our God through Jesus Christ

While we may still have sorrows, let us remember our hope is secured

How do we know it is secured? Because we know that all the promises of God are fulfilled in the person Jesus Christ

He who has promised has provided

That is the hope, a hope which his alive and well today

The Coming of Our Living Hope

This Christmas let us join with all others who behold and wonder

Let us join together and proclaim the great news of the coming of the Son of God who is now with us

Let us together sin of His mercies, His love, and His glory

Let our voices mingle together with the angels and we proclaim the coming of the Son of God

Let us join the chorus of saints before us who together celebrated the coming of Jesus Christ into this world

Let us rejoice because we know nothing in all the world can take away the living hope we have in Jesus Christ

Come, then, let us observe the Feast. Come, and we shall commemorate the solemn festival. It is a strange manner of celebrating a festival; but truly wondrous is the whole chronicle of the Nativity. For this day the ancient slavery is ended, the devil confounded, the demons take to flight, the power of death is broken, paradise is unlocked, the curse is taken away, sin is removed from us, error driven out, truth has been brought back, the speech of kindliness diffused, and spreads on every side, a heavenly way of life has been implanted on the earth, angels communicate with men without fear, and men now hold speech with angels. 

Why is this? Because God is now on earth, and man in heaven; on every side all things commingle. He has come on earth, while being Whole in heaven; and while complete in heaven, He is without diminution on earth. Though He was God, He became Man; not denying Himself to be God. Though being the impassable Word, He became flesh; that He might dwell amongst us, He became Flesh. He did not become God. He was God. Wherefore He became flesh, so that He Whom heaven did not contain, a manger would this day receive.

He was placed in a manger, so that He, by whom all things are nourished, may receive an infant's food from His Virgin Mother. So, the Father of all ages, as an infant at the breast, nestles in the virginal arms, that the Magi may more easily see Him. Since this day the Magi too have come, and made a beginning of withstanding tyranny; and the heavens give glory, as the Lord is revealed by a star. To Him, then, Who out of confusion has wrought a clear path, to Christ, to the Father, and to the Holy Spirit, we offer all praise, now and forever. Amen.”

(John Chrysostom, 386 AD)