Christmas Day – Monday, December 25, 2017

December 25, 2017  

John 1:1-14

During the early years of my first call… so the late 1980’s and early 1990’s… democracy was surging across Eastern Europe. Those of us living back then remember when the Soviet Union became a multitude of independent nations, one of which was Russia. Another was Romania. In 1989 democracy found a foothold in Romania.

The leader of the old Romania was a harsh dictator. As he saw democracy move in, threatening his leadership, he fled the country. As I watched these events unfold evening after evening on the national news, I heard a reporter tell a story that I have repeated a few times. The story is short. The story is simple.

As Romania’s dictator fled the country, the reporter interviewed various people, anonymous people who hadn’t ever known the freedom of speech we so richly honor here in the United States. These anonymous people were interviewed standing on a platform where their old leader had stood only hours before, calling for the deaths of his citizens. The screams of those innocent victims still echoing, an un-named person, perhaps a poet, told the reporter “A new child was born today; his name was Victory.”

The day he spoke those words? December 25, 1989.

“A new child was born today; his name was Victory.”

The Word which had been in the beginning has dwelt among us.

The Word which was with God, which was God became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth.

His name was Jesus.

Jesus is our Victory.

The event of his birth was heralded by angels, and yet witnessed only by shepherds.

He was born in a manger. Born into poverty, yet honored by kings.

In this Victory our faith was born.

Our faith in Jesus Christ was born. Our faith in his ability to deliver us, to save us, to offer us the promise of everlasting life.

Back in Romania during the struggle for independence and a democratic society, when people protested the government’s acts of oppression, the protesters would place their own children between themselves and the police. The protesters believed the police would never dare harm children. But harm children they did. The Romanian police killed the children. The Victory born for the people of Romania came at tremendous cost. Death was midwife to their Victory.

The Victory Jesus brought to the world would have not been possible without his death. Born already a King, Jesus brought Victory to the world through his death and resurrection. It is only because he conquered death that we all are promised victory over our own—our own deaths and the deaths of those we have loved and lost.

Christmas is not just about a baby born in a manger in Bethlehem. Christmas is about the promise that child, born in a manger in Bethlehem brought to the world. Jesus brought a promise of peace! Jesus brought a promise of love! Jesus brought a promise of graceful forgiveness, forgiveness that can only come because Jesus died for us and for our salvation.

“A new child was born today; his name was Victory.”

Jesus was born on this day, years ago. Jesus is our victory.

Jesus is our Emmanuel. Jesus is God with us.

Jesus is our Sovereign Ruler.

Jesus is the Prince of Peace.

Jesus is Savior of the world.

Jesus was born on this day, our Victory.

Thanks be to God.

Amen.