In this week’s Excerpt from Luther’s Christmas sermons: Luther says that Christmas Reminds Us To Make The Gospel Personal.
Luther says: The right and gracious faith which God demands is, that you firmly believe that Christ is born for you, and that this birth took place for your welfare. The Gospel teaches that Christ was born, and that he died and suffered everything on our behalf, as is here declared by the angel: “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 Saviour, who is Christ the Lord.” 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.
He goes on to explore how Christ’s birth can be for our welfare when he was born in purity and innocence and we are born in sin. He says that Jesus’ pure birth is given to us in our being “born again” and our sinful birth is taken by him in his death for our sins. We swap births, so to speak. He writes: We see here how Christ, as it were, takes our birht from us and absorbs it in his birth, and grants us his, that in it we might become pure and holy, as it were our own, so that every Christian may rejoice and glory in Christ’s birth as much as if he had himself been born of Mary as was Christ. Whoever does not belive this, or doubts, is no Christian…But this can not occur except through the faith that teaches us rightly to understand the Gospel and properly to lay hold of it. This is the only way in which Christ can be rightly known so that he conscience is satisfied and made to rejoice…This is what is meant by Isaiah 9:6, “Unto us a Child is born, unto us a son is given,” to us, to us, to us is born, and to us is given this child.
The great preacher concludes then with these all important thoughts that we must remember today regarding Christmas and the birth of Jesus: Therefore see to it that you do not find pleasure in the Gospel only as a history, for that is only transcient; neither regrad it only as an example, for it is of no value without faith; but see to it that you make this birth your own and that Christ be born in you.
Christmas reminds us that God gave Jesus to US!