In the several brief verses of today’s reading we might imagine that we are
hearing the outline for a Christmas message. However, this “sermon” has not
three, but only two main parts. In the first verse we hear the simple and direct
announcement of the good news that we celebrate at Christmas: God’s grace
has appeared in the coming of Jesus, who has come to bring salvation for all
But if the sermon ended there, we might fittingly be left with the question, “So
what? What will this salvation look like?” To that the preacher replies, “Jesus
Christ has come to prepare for himself a people who are zealous for doing
The invitation to celebrate the birth of Jesus has a purpose; it wants to change
our lives for the sake of the world around us. God’s good news of the coming of
Jesus, which we celebrate in this season, has our neighbors in mind. How will
that celebration change the kind of good works that you and I do tomorrow for
the sake of God’s world?
O God my salvation, I give thanks that you have sent your Son in order to redeem my
life from the power of sin and evil; now transform my life that I may be empowered to
act in ways of justice and mercy for the sake of my neighbor. Amen.