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Lebanon, Missouri
I am Pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church (LC-MS) in Lebanon, MO for 12 years. I'm married to Cheryl and have been blessed with 5 children.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Part I - Icon of the Nativity

During the 12 Days of Christmas take time to look over this icon. I will examine it in four parts. Each part will begin with reflections of the Nativity. The icon and idea for these posts comes from Rejesus, a web site of the United Kingdom. I have added my own notes and prayers.

Notice the center of the icon. There is baby Jesus. The focal point is on Him, for He is the heart of the whole Christmas story. Those who have ears, let them hear: Christ is also at the heart of the church - her ministry, her hymns, her liturgy, the life of her people.

The manger is made to look like a sepulcher. Jesus’ task is not set when He is an adult. It isn’t as if Jesus waited till a mature age to settle upon and undertake the difficult path of dying for our sins. The goal is set already in the manger. Indeed, the plan was set in eternity past.

Christ’s central work is emphasized by the cross that shoots up from the manger – between the rocks. On the cross is the star of Bethlehem. Wise men follow the star to the manger, but they dare not stop in this tiny town.

Those who are truly wise are those who have been given the gift of faith by the Holy Spirit. They must follow Jesus to Jerusalem on Good Friday to the fulfillment of His incarnation. They do this when in faith the wise receive Holy Baptism, Holy Communion, and Holy Absolution. In these Sacraments God's people are brought into the sphere of Jesus' death and resurrection. They become partakers in His work.

Heavenly Father, we praise you that the Ancient of Days has become an infant. He who sits on the heavenly throne, now lies in a manger. He Who cannot be touched now lies subject to the hands of men. He Who will break the bonds of sinners, is now bound by an infant’s bands.

All glory are Yours because You have decreed that contempt shall become honor, infamy shall be clothed with glory, and the total humiliation of Jesus will be the measure of His goodness. (adapted, Bishop & Doctor John Chrysostum in, Sunday Sermons of the Great Fathers, vol 1, p.112f.)

P: Lord, in Your mercy;
C: Hear our prayer.

Dear Jesus, You assumed our flesh, that we may partake of Your Word. You have taken our flesh, to give us Your Spirit. You have bestowed and we have received. You have become our treasure and life. All glory and honor be to Your blessed name with the Father and the Holy Spirit. Amen (adapted, Bishop & Doctor John Chrysostum in, Sunday Sermons of the Great Fathers, vol 1, p.112f.)

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