Every Christmas (2 Peter 1)
- Liturgical Date: Advent Midweek - December 11, 2013
- Order of Service: Service of Prayer & Preaching
- Hymns: LSB #332, 655, 348
Without the Biblical record we would have no knowledge of the Virgin Birth of Christ. The Spirit has carefully recorded and preserved the truths pertaining to the birth of Jesus so that the Bible would be able to guide, as a star, the seekers from the East and inform anyone reading the Bible (the chief priests and scribes back then, you and me today). In the midst of all the man-made stories and tall tales that come up at Christmas time, the Spirit of God is responsible for the true-for-all-time account of Christmas, as we learn from 2 Peter 1:
- And we have the prophetic Word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the Day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone's own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
THE HOLY SPIRIT WORKS SIGHT UNSEEN TO MAKE EVERY CHRISTMAS POSSIBLE. Our celebration of Christmas comes because we find it in the Bible. Jesus' birth is the only birth in the Bible that is granted so much ink on the pages of Holy Scripture. The Holy Spirit moved the writers of the Bible to make sure that this birth would be known for its uniqueness. Not only Sts. Matthew and Luke who record the birth, but all the Bible writers focus on it. Through the Spirit's revelation of the Holy Scripture, everyone can find the Christ-Child lying in the manger. Everyone can find God's love wrapped in swaddling cloths. Everyone can hope for the bright future the Messiah is about to bring.
And it's all right here in one book. Everything that is needed to know about the little baby in the manger. Why He is there. What He has come to do. After all, it wasn't the star that brought the Magi to Bethlehem. The Magi followed the star to Jerusalem. Their own human reason brought them to believe that the newborn King of the Jews would be found there (Matthew 2:2). It was the Bible that sent the Magi to Nazareth (Matthew 2:5-6):
- [The chief priests and scribes] told [Herod], "In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet: 'And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.'"
The Magi from the East, most likely Persia, came to Jerusalem to find the King of the Jews. But it was the Scriptures that told them that the King of the Jews was born in Bethlehem. The Holy Spirit revealed Jesus' birthplace to Micah. And he recorded it so that the chief priests and scribes would know where the Messiah was born.
The Holy Spirit wants everyone to be informed of God's salvation. Therefore He gives the information. Information that no human would have thought of. "No prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from god as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit" (v21). "My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways" (Isaiah 55:8). Man's thoughts are not God's thoughts. The Holy Spirit moved the prophets and Apostles to record the events that would happen and had happened for man's salvation. Even the events of the Virgin Birth and crucifixion.
But the Bible does't make its first revelation to the Magi in Jerusalem. They had contact with the Holy Scriptures before this time. Likely having studied every major religious text available, these Magi had read at least some of the Prophets. Maybe even just Moses. But even from these, the Magi knew that the King of the Jews would fulfill the triple office of Prophet, Priest and King. And they declare this from their gifts to the Christ-Child. Gold, frankincense, myrrh (Matthew 2:11). The riches of a king. The incense of prayers rising through the great High Priest. The embalming resin that itself prophesied the destiny of this Child. The only Child born for the sole purpose of dying.
No human mind would have come up with all this. It came from the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit that moves us to confess, "For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness" (Psalm 84:10). This confession comes from the Holy Spirit, as He delivers God's promises and blessings though the recorded Word. The Word that continues to be read and proclaimed Sunday after Sunday. The Word in which we wish to remain steadfast (LSB #655). The Word that brings us to the faith to pray, "Come quickly, King of Kings" (LSB #348.5).
That we look forward to His return. The promised return that is also recorded in Holy Scripture. The Holy Spirit does not just give us a baby Jesus born. The Holy Spirit gives us the God-man Jesus suffering, dying and buried. The Holy Spirit gives us a risen and ascended Lord Jesus. The Holy Spirit gives us a Jesus who is coming back. So we pray, "Come quickly, King of Kings" (LSB #348.5), because THE HOLY SPIRIT WORKS SIGHT UNSEEN TO MAKE EVERY CHRISTMAS POSSIBLE. Amen.