Christmas Day “Dwells”
December 25, 2020 – John 1:14
Receive from God His forgiveness. Do not get His punishment. Be at peace through God made flesh dwelling among us.
A couple summers ago our family went on a road trip through Southern Alberta. It was a fine trip. Marion showed Caleb and I all the places her family had visited when she was a girl. Places like the exotic city of Medicine Hat where they used to live, Maple Creek also where her dad served, and the Hoodoo’s found, somewhat nearby, at Writing-on-Stone provincial park. What is a hoodoo? Ask Marion sometime today as after you wish her “happy birthday.” She would love to tell you about them.
I was not in the best mood on this trip we took for some reason. Perhaps it was the Costco sized munchie mix we bought that I ate far too quickly. We stayed by Milk River the one night in a campground that did not have cell reception. This did not help things. More importantly, it was on that night that we discovered something new in our car, something we did not expect, something dwelling among us.
All of the munchie mix that little Caleb had been “eating” while in his car seat had scattered all over the car and invited a mouse to the best buffet of its life. Mouse poop was showing u everywhere and even Caleb’s headrest smelled of “mouse.” It was awful. I am no stranger to mice making their home all around us. On the farm, there were mice everywhere. They would get into our stuff and make an awful mess pulling out insulation and defecating wherever they went. They would make a particular mess of our cars then, too.
The point of telling you all this? Sometimes things come along and dwell among you that are unwelcome. Maybe you’ve had mice, too. Maybe you’ve had guests overstay their welcome. Maybe you’ve had a virus dwell among you for far too long. Some things can come and, instead of bringing peace, can bring conflict and division. If everyone were perfect, this would not be an issue. People are not perfect and when they live together unrest can arise.
In fact, “not perfect” is an understatement. People are sinners. They hurt each other constantly. They are cruel, unkind, and unloving. They do not just hurt each other but they hurt God, too, by not listening to Him or loving Him. They deserve His fair punishment.
So, when God comes to dwell with us, what would you expect to happen? A perfect God living with an imperfect people. You would expect judgement, chaos, punishment of evil. It would be like a neat-freak coming to live with a slob. You would expect pandemonium!
God did come to dwell with us This happened. What happened when He did? What message announced His arrival? “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” (Luke 2:14). We hear “God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him” (John 3:17). When God comes to dwell with us, He brings peace.
What did we do to deserve peace with God? Have we lived perfectly pure lives? Have we been neat freaks spiritually always doing the right things at the right times? No! We’ve been total slobs! If you don’t believe me, listen to God. He tells you that you have sinned. He tells you that if you say you have no sin you deceive yourself and the truth is not in you!
He comes to dwell in the mess of your life and our world and cleans it! He takes all our garbage and dies with it on the cross. He comes as a little baby to experience our mess. He comes to experience the conflict, division, and chaos and be killed in the crossfire.
He comes to dwell among us. Although it may hurt to acknowledge our need for Him to come be with us. It may hurt to acknowledge that we have sinned in thought, word, and deed. Him coming to dwell with us is humbling. But, Thanks be to God that he does come and brings peace!
The baby in a manger, 2000 years ago, the one we celebrate December 25th, He is one that is good to have dwelling among us. He still dwells among us in His Word and Sacrament, and in the Holy Spirit He sent who dwells in each one of us through baptism.
May His dwelling in us, always bringing us peace through the forgiveness of sins, this Christmas Day and always.