Feast of the Nativity of our Lord
Scripture: Isaiah 49:1-18 (NKJV)
1 “Listen, O coastlands, to Me, and take heed, you peoples from afar! The LORD has called Me from the womb; From the matrix of My mother He has made mention of My name. 2 And He has made My mouth like a sharp sword; In the shadow of His hand He has hidden Me, and made Me a polished shaft; In His quiver He has hidden Me.” 3 “And He said to me, ‘You are My servant, O Israel, In whom I will be glorified.’ 4 Then I said, ‘I have labored in vain, I have spent my strength for nothing and in vain; Yet surely my just reward is with the LORD, and my work with my God.'”
5 “And now the LORD says, Who formed Me from the womb to be His Servant, to bring Jacob back to Him, so that Israel is gathered to Him (For I shall be glorious in the eyes of the LORD, and My God shall be My strength), 6 Indeed He says, ‘It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also give You as a light to the Gentiles, that You should be My salvation to the ends of the earth.'”
7 Thus says the LORD, the Redeemer of Israel, their Holy One, to Him whom man despises, to Him whom the nation abhors, to the Servant of rulers: “Kings shall see and arise, princes also shall worship, because of the LORD who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel; And He has chosen You.” 8 Thus says the LORD: “In an acceptable time I have heard You, and in the day of salvation I have helped You; I will preserve You and give You as a covenant to the people, to restore the earth, to cause them to inherit the desolate heritages; 9 That You may say to the prisoners, ‘Go forth,’ to those who are in darkness, ‘Show yourselves.’ They shall feed along the roads, and their pastures shall be on all desolate heights. 10 They shall neither hunger nor thirst, neither heat nor sun shall strike them; For He who has mercy on them will lead them, Even by the springs of water He will guide them. 11 I will make each of My mountains a road, and My highways shall be elevated. 12 Surely these shall come from afar; Look! Those from the north and the west, and these from the land of Sinim.”
13 Sing, O heavens! Be joyful, O earth! And break out in singing, O mountains! For the LORD has comforted His people, and will have mercy on His afflicted. 14 But Zion said, “The LORD has forsaken me, and my Lord has forgotten me.” 15 “Can a woman forget her nursing child, and not have compassion on the son of her womb? Surely they may forget, yet I will not forget you. 16 See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; Your walls are continually before Me. 17 Your sons shall make haste; Your destroyers and those who laid you waste shall go away from you. 18 Lift up your eyes, look around and see; All these gather together and come to you. As I live,” says the LORD, “You shall surely clothe yourselves with them all as an ornament, and bind them on you as a bride does.”
Today we celebrate the birth of the promised Messiah, Jesus the Christ, the Anointed One, Who is God revealed in the flesh; the very same One of Whom Isaiah foretold in today’s reading; Whose Name, work and purpose was not only to be for the Jews, but also for the Gentiles.
Today we focus our full attention on the birth of Jesus Christ, and remember how His Name, work, and purpose are most beautifully spelled out for us in Luther’s meaning of the Second Article of the Apostles’ Creed: “I believe that Jesus Christ, true God, begotten of the Father from eternity, and also true man, born of the Virgin Mary, is my Lord, Who has redeemed me, a lost and condemned creature, purchased and won [delivered] me from all sins, from death, and from the power of the devil, not with gold or silver, but with His holy, precious Blood and with His innocent suffering and death, in order that I may be [wholly] His own, and live under Him in His kingdom, and serve Him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness, even as He is risen from the dead, lives and reigns to all eternity. This is most certainly true.”
Let us pray: He shall come down like showers upon the fruitful earth, and joy and hope, like flowers, spring in His path to birth. Before Him on the mountains shall peace, the herald, go and righteousness, in fountains, from hill to valley flow. Amen.