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Love Came Down at Christmas

December 24th 2010 by Joel Schultz

At our Family Service on Christmas eve we heard about God's LOve....

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Christmas Eve – “God’s Saving Love Frees Me” – Isaiah 9:2–9 – 5pm, 12/24/10

Our text this evening, from Isaiah 9 depicts a battle which has had a victorious outcome and releases those who were held captive. Isaiah writes: “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light;..... For the yoke of his burden, and the staff for his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian” (Isaiah 9:2a, 4).

The battle is likened to the battle of the Israelites against the Midianites in Judges 6. The Midianites had been oppressing God’s people for many years. So, God called Gideon to lead an army to throw off their yoke of slavery and break the rod of oppression.

Perhaps you are familiar with this story. Before the attack, 32,000 men gathered with Gideon to fight. But the Lord said this was too many and He let those who don’t want to fight go home – 22,000 left. The Lord said the remaining 10,000 were too many, and so He finally whittled the number down to 300 – 300 to attack an army of over 120,000.

The 300 were stationed around the Midianite army at night with jars of clay over burning torches and trumpets in their hands. At Gideon’s trumpet blast the 300 all sounded the attack on their trumpets, broke the clay pitchers, and held up brightly burning torches. The forces of the Midianites were driven into total confusion and attacked themselves.

During Advent, we have been meditating on the theme “God’s Love at Christmas.” Tonight, in the children’s message, we heard through the wonderful children’s book, that God’s Love Came Down at Christmas. You see, God’s love is this: Jesus Christ, true God and true man, came into this world to do battle with satan and conquer sin and death for you and me.

This was necessary, for the world was darkened by sin and had been broken and spoiled – all of it taken captive under the deadly dominion of satan. Sin makes us slaves – slaves that cannot free themselves – slaves who deserve eternal death – separation from God.

But because God loves you dearly, He came to set you free. This simple children’s hymn by August Rische speaks of that love so well (Lutheran Service Book 392):

“I was in slavery, Sin, death, and darkness; God’s love was working to make me free... He sent forth Jesus, My dear Redeemer, He sent forth Jesus And set me free... Jesus, my Savior, Himself did offer; Jesus, my Savior, Paid all I owe...”

You who have been pressed down by the yoke of slavery, the burden of carrying guilt and shame because of all your sin, look, this Son born to you breaks the burdensome yoke of sin by letting it press down on Him all the way to Golgotha’s hill.

This is how He does battle with satan – by giving His life as a substitute for ours. But the giving of His life is not defeat, but rather victory for Him over sin and satan.

And just as He bounded free from the grave, so He declares “forgiven” and “free” all who trust in Him. Confess the weight of your sin to Him and rejoice, for He breaks the yoke of our slavery to sin and satan and takes all our sin away.

You who have been living in the darkness and gloom of the shadow of death, this Son born to you breaks forth in light, brilliantly shining. At the cross, bearing the full darkness of death in His own body, it appeared the light was extinguished. But He rose with rays of healing peace and joy that drive back death’s reign. Death must release and set free Christ’s people forever.

Jesus freely chooses to be born on earth, to suffer and die as we deserve, all the while living perfectly as we should have. He does all this because God loves you dearly with an undeserved, unstoppable love that has come down at Christmas to free you and keep you in God’s grace forever.

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