Sundays:  Pastor's Class 9:00 AM
               Divine Service 10:30 AM

Wednesday: Pastor's Class 10:00 AM
                   Divine Service 7:00 PM 

Private Confession by appointment.

Nothing Can Ruin Christmas

December 23, 2020 Pastor: Rev. George Fyler

Christ Lutheran Church
Cleveland, Ohio
December 25, 2020
by: Rev. George Fyler
(read by: Rev. Dean Kavouras)

The Christ Mass
Nothing Can Ruin Christmas

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. (John 1:1-5)

It’s Christmas 2020 and unlike previous years we have not received as many Christmas Cards and letters as in past years. The few letters we have received are less joyous and more tremulous about politics, finances, and health issues. It appears that many folks have surrendered to, and been overcome by, darkness. An unspiritual and illogical alarmism has taken some captive as they write, “our Christmas is ruined!”

Not sticks … not stones … not broken bones … not lies or false claims … nor cruel words … nor family break-ups … not war … not hunger … not drunkenness … nor neglect … not old grudges … not fresh wounds … not sad news from doctors, teachers, or the stock market … not conflicting guidance from renown Scientist & Doctors about overcoming pandemics … none of that CAN RUIN CHRISTMAS.

And if none of that, then certainly not dry turkey or perishing presents or disgruntled children and boorish guests — NOTHING CAN RUIN CHRISTMAS.

Not even death — death has lost its sting. The grave has lost its victory. Death has been put to rest in the manger. It dares not rear its fallen head. If the ox and the ass know their Master how much more so does death know Who has caused its demise?

Christmas cannot be ruined anymore than God can be ruined; or the birth in Bethlehem undone. The Word became Flesh. That is a fact. We have a Savior, and this fallen realm is not our permanent home or only source of joy.

God as Man, God as a Baby, has laid Himself in the manger to make Himself food for men made beasts by inwardness and selfish lust.

He is the Bread of Life and gives Himself to palates dulled by evil words. But Jesus will not be stopped. He will do what He was sent to do despite our greedy sins. He will make men His. He enters in. His light shines. It drives off the darkness, and sins dissolve like cobwebs before the morning sun, like fog melting away on a hot August day.

God loves you.

He gives Himself to men that men might then surrender themselves to Him; and those who do become whole, become men again as men were meant to be: free and clean and full of worship, praise, and thanksgiving, zealous for good works and service to one another.

He has redeemed us. He has rescued us out of death, out of gloom and despair. And though we still mourn, though we still weep and still know some touch of anger and frustration, we do not mourn as those who have no hope. We know the Truth. The Word became Flesh. We've seen the Light in sacred Word, Sacrament, and worship.

The Word became Flesh, and our frail flesh will soon leave behind the corruption of this present age and be like the angels in heaven: holy, alive, and good, full of pious mirth because the Word became Flesh.

Now Flesh endures. God as Man laid once in a manger. He laid once also in a borrowed tomb. But no more. He is not a Baby. He is not dead. That Fleshy Man sits at the right hand of the Father. He ushers in all believers to prepared mansions while pointing to the blessed marks on His hands and feet and side: advocating, mediating, and shepherding men through death to life eternal.

The Word became Flesh, and the Word endures forever, so now the corruptible becomes incorruptible and the mortal becomes immortal. This is now and will abide. It will last. No one can snatch the Word made Flesh from us. Long after the glitter and schmaltz and the crowds at the shopping malls are gone, the Word they still shall let remain. They may not care for it. They may hate it. But it matters not. For it is the Word that none can deny nor mistake.

He endures forever. He is that blessed Word that came from God to save all mankind. He is that blessed Word that created all that is. He is that blessed Word sent from God to speak us back into fellowship with our Heavenly Father. He is not done. The Last Word has not yet been said.

In the meantime, the waters of Baptism wash over His people; still the Word of Grace comes from His ministers and absolves the penitents who seek His grace; still His Word calls bread and wine to be Flesh for food of Life, that Flesh once laid into a manger and nailed to a cross, made alive out of death again, is laid upon the tongues of men and makes them Temples of the Holy Spirit. His Word does what it was sent to do. By His Word, He calls us back to Himself.

Did His own receive Him? No. Was there no room for Him in the inn? There was not.

It did not stop Him.

He still loves humanity. He took our Flesh. He redeemed our race from this awful, dying place. He laid Himself not only into a manger, surrounded by dung, in the chilly winter air, but also onto the rough wood of a cross surrounded by liars and cheats, thieves and terrorists.

God has loved us to the very end. No price was too great, not even the life of His Son made Man. His is the glory we have beheld, grace upon grace. He loves us and gives His gifts to us not because we've deserved them or earned them, but because of His love!

He bestows grace upon grace, for the sake of His grace, grace for grace, gift for gift, love for love so that our cups overflow. His Light shines from the cross at the back of the empty tomb and men are born anew. God is with us & for us and has given Himself to us. Death has no claim. We belong, by grace, to Jesus Christ. He is begotten of the Father.

Nothing can ruin that. The devil already tried. He could not overcome the Light. Grace and Truth have come through Jesus Christ and you are here because Jesus Himself declared it to you. Here is joy that no one, no thing, can snatch away, joy in the midst of sadness, life in the midst of death, hope in the midst of despair, God in the midst of men.

The Word became Flesh. Our flesh will receive His reward in due time. In the meantime, we wait, and we are at peace.

If your Christmas hasn't shaped up the way you planned or expected or dreamed … if you are sad or lonely … that doesn't change the facts. The Word became Flesh. We have a Savior. Find your solace and comfort in Jesus. For the Word made Flesh is the only stable thing, the only thing that does not age, wither, and die, the only thing that does not disappoint in all of Creation. And nothing can ruin that, therefore, nothing can ruin Christmas.

The Word became Flesh. We have a Savior. We are His body; the Church militant being transformed into the Church triumphant.

Christ is born! Let us glorify him!