Sermon – Christmas Eve 2018
Luke 2:1-20; Rev 3:7-8 ‘A Baby’s Key’
CT: Christmas is God’s Key coming to open the door to eternal life through the cross; by forgiving our sins.
“And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: ‘The words of the holy one, the true one, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, who shuts and no one opens. “‘I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. (Revelation 3:7-8 ESV)
Intro: There’s a family that hangs a golden key in a prominent place on their Christmas tree every year. It was visible to visitors, friends and family alike as a reminder to unlock the mystery of Christmas for others—to give meaning to the Christmas tree, the lights and decorations, the angel on top, the presents underneath, family gatherings, feasting, and yes, even to Santa Clause. All of these things are rooted deep in the heart of what Christmas is. Take a close look at this Christmas tree; every decoration, right down to the white lights point to one place; the Key to Christmas.
Shepherd’s Key: The angel in the night sky gave the shepherds the key to Christmas: “Unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord.” And the key piece of evidence would be a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger. And the shepherds went, saw, and bore witness to all they had seen and heard concerning that Baby. They didn’t let go of the Key to Christmas; they shared it!
NB Keys: There is a key to solving every good mystery, just as there’s a key piece of evidence in every CSI crime drama. And if you work on a family puzzle over Christmas you may have heard: “If I could only find this piece, the rest would come together!” And we have all kinds of keys; keys to cars and homes, pass codes to phones, computers, and bank cards. But most of the time we hardly take notice them; they’re passed from pocket to pocket, hide in the bottom of a purse, thrown on the counter, or hung by the door; that is until you lose them and then you’re stuck with a car that won’t go, empty handed at the bank machine, or climbing through the kitchen window to get into your own house. Yet all of these keys are replaceable; they come and go with a new car, home, or credit card. They serve a purpose for a time; they keep out and let in as you see fit.
Open Door: But not so with the key of David; He opens and no one will shut, but also shuts and no one opens. This is God’s Key to life, to your life; its meaning and purpose and destiny. In the fullness of time, God sent His Son. God took on human flesh in a young woman’s womb; born as we all were and subject to all the same rules we are. And not just gravity, but all that God expects of you and me. Jesus was certified without sin; the key to opening the door for you to be adopted as child of God. Heaven’s doors were opened to embrace mankind with God’s love, even when we’re busy pushing Him away and ignoring His pleas all around us to know Him, talk to Him, and be with Him. Despite how tightly our hearts are shut with sin, no matter how firmly the world has chained us to what it says is important, God’s response is to open the way for you to be with Him by sending the Key.
That 1st Christmas, the door to the stable was left wide open to see the Baby in the manger that you too might marvel like the shepherds at what has been told you concerning this Child, and believe.
Key of David: Luke records God’s hand in history to open the doors for Joseph and Mary to go to Bethlehem. Mary’s firstborn Son was born in the city of David. The key fits! This Baby is the key of David, the promised Christ, a King of kings as Isaiah foretold: “The government shall be upon His shoulders and He shall be called, ‘Wonderful Counsellor, Almighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace’.” Jesus is the key to understanding Isaiah’s words: “He was wounded for our transgressions; He was crushed for our iniquities; upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with His stripes we are healed.” Only Jesus has the ability and power to put into effect all of God promises for you. Jesus is the Christ of God, God’s Son; Immanuel, ‘God with us’!
The Master Key: The key to Christmas is the Baby in the manger. There is no other key like Him. He unlocks and opens for you where all your best efforts will fail. You can’t pick the lock on heaven’s gates nor can you force your way in. You can’t storm heaven with a sleigh full of good works; even Saint Nicholas can’t squeeze in through the chimney. He enters the same way what we all do; through God’s gift of faith that clings tightly to this Key. The sticking point is: the same Key that opens also has the power to close; to lock out forever!
But with forgiveness He stretched out His arms on the cross opening the way for you to boldly come before the throne of Grace—to know God as your loving heavenly Father. Your blood bought forgiveness does that! In the waters of our Baptism He literally washes away every evidence of sin that would condemn you, (there is no sin left to accuse you) clothing you instead with a newness for living. The Key to meaning and purpose in life is the person of Jesus Christ, whose outstretched hands open the way to everlasting life—to God’s plan and future for all who believe on Him.
Christmas Key Bearers: I’ve had people come into my home and look at the top of our Christmas tree and ask, “What’s Mary doing there?” Yes, I have Mary, gently glowing on top of our tree, but my answer is always the same: “You missed the Baby!” Cradled in Mary’s arms is the Christ Child; tiny and so often unnoticed in the midst of all the other things that make up our Christmas. He’s the Key to Christmas—to understanding all the Christmas stuff—and more; He’s the Key to your relationship with God; He’s your Key to life.