“God Has Broadcast to All the World” December 25. 2022
“God Has Broadcast to All the World” S1
Well here we are: Christmas on a Sunday and a white Christmas at that. Come to find out that on the average, Christmas falls on a Sunday every seven years, give or take depending upon leap years. So yes, this is special, and after the last few years we could do with some special.
For the last few weeks we have visited the stories of Mary, of Elizabeth, and most notably, of John the Baptist. In addition, we have studied briefly on just a few of the many prophecies from the Old Testament that speak of the promise – the promise of a savior, of Emmanuel, of God with us at long last. It is from one of those prophecies that I would like to speak with you today, not to prove a point By driving home The wisdom of taking these prophecies seriously – which, by all means, we should do – but instead, to perhaps give us all a different sense of place and perspective when it comes to this glorious celebration that we know as Christmas.
I’m speaking about our reading today from the 62nd chapter of Isaiah. When I first read through this text, I thought it might be just a little odd for this special Christmas that falls on the Sunday, Particularly verses 6 and 7 which read:
“On your walls, Jerusalem, I have placed sentries;
They must never be silent day or night.
They must remind the Lord of his promises
And never let him forget them.
7 They must give him no rest until he restores Jerusalem
And makes it a city the whole world praises.”
So do you see what I mean? And if we interpret Jerusalem to be the church as a whole, this prophetic wisdom seems to indicate that we, the sentries, that we the watchdogs of the church must never be silent day or night; and that we must constantly remind the Lord of his promises and never let him forget them. Well alright. is everyone here comfortable with that? I didn’t think so. Somehow, the idea of a commandment to continually nag the creator of heaven and earth to keep his promises just doesn’t sit well with me, If only for the reason that It appears that we, the sentries, Just don’t trust that God we’ll make good on his promises without our constant nagging and whining.
But this of course, is not at all what Isaiah had in mind. John Wesley explains this, perhaps, a bit better than I when he tells us “
“God’s professing people must be a praying people. He is not displeased with us for being earnest, as men commonly are; he bids us to cry after him, and give him no rest “ And this brings me, in a roundabout way, to Christmas.
You see, relatively speaking, The celebration of the birth of Christ hasn’t been around that long. Those of the Jewish faith have celebrated the festivals passed down by Moses for thousands of years. Likewise, early Christianity Had their fair share of festivals and feasts With the main focus always upon Easter and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. But the celebration of Christmas only started in Rome about the year 336 and didn’t become a popular holiday until the 9th century. So it makes you wonder. it makes you wonder what took Christmas so long? was it because there were no ancient texts commanding us? Or was it because The simple birth of the Messiah lacked the passion and the intensity of the crucifixion? It’s hard to say and maybe this is a question I shouldn’t even be asking but I have to wonder if it just took us s while to warm up to the idea or if we are just naturally an untrusting bunch.
Christmas is, after all, the celebration of a promise. The promise of a savior; the promise of salvation, The promise of eternal life. And here’s the thing: once you get that in your head, once you come to believe that promise, then there’s no turning back.
So for those who complain that Christmas is too commercialized or Too glitzy and not focused enough on the Christ from which it gets its name; to those folks, I would say, ‘Lighten up.” Think of it this way: we are only reminding God of his promises, and we treasure the promise of salvation so much that we will not let him forget them. we will not let him forget them lest we forget ourselves. Like Mr. Wesley said, “He bids us to cry after him, and give him no rest “ we can do that, don’t you think? Yes, we can do that.
so come, Lord Jesus, come. Come that we might live in this promise. that we might live where hope and peace and joy and love are not just words on a hallmark card, but trees of blessing that grow in our hearts and our communities. come that goodness and compassion may become the Sentinels that sit upon the walls of Jerusalem, shouting the glory of our God.
and with that being said, I can think of no better way to close than with the words of Isaiah once again:
62:10 hoist high a flag, a signal to all peoples!/Yes! God has broadcast to all the world./ “Tell daughter Zion, ‘Look! Your Savior comes,
Ready to do what he said he’d do,/ prepared to complete what he promised.’”
Yes, I’d have to say that Christmas this year is special. Let’s be mindful that our God broadcast to the world that a savior is to come. It is a promise like no other. And so, may the blessings and the promise of the Christ child be your constant companion in the days to come,
Amen and Shalom.