Friday, 25 December 2009

A Blessed Christmas

A blessed Christmas to all who visit the 'old manse'!


Sermon on the Afternoon of Christmas Day
Luke 2:1-14, December 25, 1530

You have heard today the story from the Gospel of St. Luke of how it came to pass that our Lord Christ was born and then also the message of the angel, who announced who the boy was who was born. Now we shall go on and take up the message of the angel. So for today you have heard only that the child was born and that he is the Lord and Savior. Thus we spoke of the story, how it unfolded, and who the persons in it were. This article is so high that even today it is believed by only a few. Nevertheless, God has preserved it even through those who have not believed it. For at all times in the monasteries and universities there have been disputations and lectures which dealt with the fact that Christ the Lord, born of Mary, is true man and God. But it went no further than saying and hearing it. But this belief is held by the devil too and the Turks and all the godless among Christians, and is the kind of belief which everybody believes that it is true but would not die for it, as Eck and many others show today...The Turk too admits that Christ was born of the Virgin Mary, that Mary was an immaculate virgin, and that Christ was more than a man; but the Word of God, as it is given in the gospel, he denies...it is a high article to believe that this infant, born of Mary, is true God; for nobody’s reason can ever accept the fact that he who created heaven and earth and is adored by angels was born of a virgin. That is the article. Nobody believes it except he who also knows this faith, namely, that this child is the Lord and Savior...

... Who, then, are those to whom this joyful news is to be proclaimed? Those who are faint-hearted and feel the burden of their sins, like the shepherds, to whom the angels proclaim the message, letting the great lords in Jerusalem, who do not accept it, go on sleeping. Beyond the first faith there must be the second faith, that Christ is not only the virgin’s Son, but also the Lord of angels and the Savior of men. The words anyone can understand, antisacramentarians, fanatics, sectarians, and Turks; but they do not proceed from the heart they come only from hearing and go no farther than hearing. This is not faith, however, but only a memory of what has been heard, that one knows that he has heard it. Nobody ventures upon it, so as to stake goods, life, and honor upon it. And yet we must preach it for the sake of those who are in the multitude to whom the angel preached...

...Therefore, remember it, sing it, and learn it, while there is still time! I fear that the time will come when we shall not be allowed to hear, believe, and sing this message in public, and the time has already come when it is no longer understood...

...What we have said, then, has been about that second faith, which is not only to believe in Mary’s Son, but rather that he who lies in the virgin’s lap is our Savior, that you accept this and give thanks to God, who so loved you that he gave you a Savior who is yours. And for a sign he sent the angel from heaven to proclaim him, in order that nothing else should be preached except that this child is the Savior and far better than heaven and earth. Him, therefore, we should acknowledge and accept; confess him as our Savior in every need, call upon him, and never doubt that he will save us from all misfortune. Amen.

Martin Luther

11 comments:

matthias said...

To you Pastor and your family a very Merry Christmas and safe travels in the New Year

Melanchthon said...

A Merry Christmas to you! Thanks for your blog. I enjoy it very much.

Blessings,
Jon

acroamaticus said...

Thank you Matthias & Jon.

Schütz said...

Happy Christmas to you and your family too, Mark. May God bless you and your ministry in the new year, especially with the move coming up.

Thanks for Luther's sermon. I am interested that he knew so much about Islam. I am not sure how informed the common populace of his time was on this matter, but this is very interesting.

acroamaticus said...

Just an extract - it's much longer, and I actually edited out the bits about the Pope so as not to gratuitously offend any Catholics; after all, it accompanied Christmas greetings.

Yes, "the Turk" crops up quite a bit in Luther's writings; of course, "he" was very much a live issue at the time, advancing as far as Vienna in 1529. Apparently, this siege, which of course was unsuccessful, led to the introduction of coffee into European cuisine, as the fleeing Turk left behind a brew and some beans. So the legend goes, anyway.

Mild Colonial Boy, Esq. said...

Pastor, I hope that you and your family, have had a merry Christmas and will have a Happy New Year.

acroamaticus said...

Thank you, MCB, and a pious and prosperous New Year to you and yours.

God willing, we shall be returning to His Own Country in 2010. It seems to be God's will that I serve the church there, in spite of the difficulties associated with such a call.

Man proposes, but God disposes!

matthias said...

Queensland "His Own Country"? Well considering that we Victorians have a pagan state government ,anything is possible. Pray for the removal of the Brumbyled government and also the biggot in the Upper House-the Greens Colleeen Hartland

acroamaticus said...

Well, I'll concede that Queensland has its problems too, Matthias (I'll keep using your nom de plume unless advised otherwise!), but warts and all it is my home state, and I'll readily confess to bias where it is concerned.

I'll happily concede, though, that Victoria is the most attractive and interesting of the Australian states that I have lived in (which only excludes WA and TAS), particularly here in the south-west. However, one thing we immediately noticed on moving here was how expensive it is compared to QLD, which I think is largely attibutable to successive VIC state govt policies. You deserve better!

christl242 said...

I'm a bit late for Christmas wishes, Pastor, but pray that you and yours will be filled with every blessing in Christ in the coming year!

In His Love,

Christine

acroamaticus said...

Thanks Christine; and to you and yours!