Warmest greetings to you and yours this blessed Holy Christmas!
Somewhere in the house, late at night, by the light of the Christmas tree, there’s a Dad, tip-toeing around, moving packages, wrapping things, and filling stockings. Music from the nutcracker suite fills his head. He hums along to it, grinning from ear to ear over his plans to surprise members of his family with gifts to show his love for them.
Maybe the thought makes you homesick for childhood, or for having little ones at home. More than just nostalgia, sin would have us pining away forever for the warmth of home and family that we had once enjoyed with God. Yet what do we find at Christmas? The Father’s heart has overflowed with His love toward us. He has poured out all the fullness of the Divine Nature bodily—into the flesh—in His Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and given Him to us at the Manger Bed in Bethlehem.
The joy of giving is Heaven’s joy at Christmas time. The Father delights in His Son. Now the Father’s delight is in giving Him to you. The angels can’t contain themselves but break forth in praise to God, that He is so good—to us!
So then, the call to worship at Christmas (just like it always is) is the call first and most of all, to Receive. Receive from God, the gift of His Son. Receive in Him, forgiveness for all sins and life everlasting. Receive from Him: life in exchange for death, grace in exchange for your restlessness.
After all, God longs to be gracious to you. God’s grace to you in His Son has Him smiling from ear to ear. The surprise He had planned for all the ages He has revealed to us at last. The message of the angel is finally from Him, where His glory is declared, and peace on earth is preached to us.
Heather and I, along with our kids, wish you all a blessed, joyful, Christ-centered, Merry Christmas, and a wonderful, blessed New Year of God’s grace!
With Love in our Savior,
Pastor A.J. Hamilton
Concordia Lutheran Church