John 1:12-14 But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God; who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father.
What is Christmas really about? Many people donít know, there are so many things and many of them claim, this is what its all about, this is what is important, you know the list, you know all the things which have demanded your time. And yet there is a simple answer, a single word which tells us what Christmas is really all about, and the Word is Love.
Its love in the Christmas cookies and candies. Its love in the fruitcake. Its love in the decorations, and love in the parties. Its love in the presents, given and received. Its love that brings us all together this morning. Thatís what Christmas is all about, love.
Yet this simple answer conveys a profound mystery, for there is all this love, and that is what Christmas is about, but the question is not so much a what, but rather the mystery is in the where, for the great secret of Christmas is where all this love comes from. It doesnít come from a mothers heart, and it doesnít come from peace on earth and the good will of men, at least, not directly. Oh there are many things that have love, and convey love, but the real story of Christmas is about where all this love comes from, for it comes from God. God is the one who loved us first, and that love overflows from us into others, reaching all the way down to the fruitcake.
Its not a new love, for God has loved us since the beginning of creation, and yet it is new, new at least in the way we perceive it. From the beginning, God has loved us, but because of our sin, God was also unapproachable, and even if it werenít for that, Godís love is so vast and so infinite that it simply overwhelms us, so that we have trouble knowing or experiencing it.
And so in love, God came to us in a package we could understand, God sent his son, born of a virgin to be our Savior, true God and true man, and in him we experience the fullness of Godís great love for us.
We can come near to God, because in Christ our sins have been forgiven, and in Christ, by grace through faith we are made a new creation, made sons and daughters of God, taught the love that permits us to call upon God as our father in heaven.
The story of Christmas is always about what God has done for us, and how his love has reached out into our lives and has touched us. God is the one who poured the love into Christmas, a love which overflows into so many things. And the secret to the love of Christmas, is that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and in that way we were able to behold his glory, glory as of the only son of the Father, full of grace and truth.
And this is why we gather, to worship the God who came to us in love, bringing us the great gift of salvation, and also bringing into the world the love which overflows and enables us to love one another . For a mothers love, is the love that comes from God, and the love in the cookies and candies, is the love which comes from God. Even fruitcakes are given and made with love, a love which comes from God. And that is what makes the presents of Christmas special, that same love which has come to us from God.
And while this love is wonderful, and while salvation is our greatest treasure, there is one more thing which is part of the mystery of Christmas, and that is this, that the love of God which has reached out and touched us working faith in our hearts through word and sacrament, making us a new creation, changing us into the sons and daughters of God by grace through faith, the one thing which still remains is hope. And hope is a powerful thing, for is says to us, imagine what the world would be like, if everyone were touched by the love of God which is ours in Christ Jesus, and that is why we celebrate Christmas, in the hope that this love may reach to the ends of the earth, for Jesus sake.