29 December 2015

Seek the Lord Where He Is Found

The shepherds did not linger or delay after hearing the Word of the Lord.  They did not drag their feet, hem and haw, or make excuses.  Directly following the praise and proclamation of the angels, they encouraged one another with the promise they had been given, and they went straight to Bethlehem to seek the Lord where He would be found.  They went in a hurry to find the signs to which His Word directed them.

Learn from this good example of the shepherds and practice the same zeal for the Word and Sacrament of Christ.  For He is the priority at the center of this story and of all creation.  Establish Him as the priority in your own life, as well, as you plan and schedule your days, as you budget, spend, and save your money, and as you choose your activities and companions.

Do not hesitate or make excuses, but faithfully seek the Lord where He shall be found.  Make your way with due diligence to the Christ Child, to the Lord your God in the flesh, to His Manger from which He feeds you in body and soul.

According to the oath that God swore to His servant David, here now is great David’s greater Son.  He is the true Shepherd and everlasting King of Israel, who cares for His flock by day and night, who gathers the people to Himself and rules the nations with righteousness, justice, and equity.

This newborn King and great Good Shepherd of the sheep does not despise the poor and lowly, nor does He neglect the weak and little ones.  Instead, He demonstrates His own almighty power in mercy and in meekness.  Although this little Babe is the Lord your God, He voluntarily takes all your sin and death upon Himself, and for a little while makes Himself poor and lowly, weak and small, dependent on His young Mother and her husband, and subject to the rulers of this world.

All of this He does in love for you and for all people, so that by the mercies of God He should thus raise the sons and daughters of fallen man from death and the grave to the life everlasting.

You know that, in the fullness of time, this Child shall be crucified for your sins and raised for your justification.  For He is your reconciliation and your righteousness.  And as the Lord, His God and Father, raises Him from the dead in His own Body born of Mary, so are His flesh and blood established as the New and Everlasting Covenant of Peace and Joy and Life with God.

Come, then, find your life in Him.  Receive these gifts Christ freely gives.  Share the fellowship Meal of His Sacrifice.  Eat and drink the Food that He provides at no cost to you.  Open your mouth and be fed, and so give thanks unto the Lord who is so gracious, good, and kind to you.

Seek Him out and find Him where His Word has directed you: With Mary and Joseph, that is to say, in His Church and Ministry; in His House of Living Bread, and at the Manger of His Altar.

Receive Him here as He gives Himself to you, into your ears by His Word, into your heart and mind, and into your hands and mouth and body and soul.  Gladly hear and learn His preaching, and treasure every Word that proceeds from His mouth as the greatest and most worthwhile prize on earth.  And at His Word, come worship and adore Him in His Body at His Manger here.  Believe and trust in Him.  Kneel and bow down before Him.  Eat and drink with thanksgiving.  And so also pray, confess, and sing, as surely as the Lord has spoken to you by His Gospel of forgiveness.

Sing to the Lord the New Song of faith and confidence in Christ.  Praise and glorify His Holy Name, His Body and His Blood, in all that you say and do.  Return faithfully to your office and stations in life, to perform the duties God has given you for the good of your neighbors.

Indeed, seek the Lord and serve Him also in those neighbors, as they are adorned by the hidden majesty of His Word.  Shepherd your own little flock, by night or by day as you are so called, in the joy and gladness of your Savior.  Do not work as though to make a life for yourself, and do not labor for that which does not nourish you or last for very long.  But work to the glory of the Holy Trinity, and live the life that He gives to you by grace through Jesus Christ, the incarnate Son.

In the Name + of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

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