30 December 2019

To Seek and Receive Your Savior in His House of Bread

As He once called David from pasturing his father’s sheep in the fields outside of Bethlehem, and He anointed that young boy to shepherd His people Israel, so does the Lord announce the coming of the great Good Shepherd King, the Prince of Peace, to shepherds keeping watch in those same fields.  He calls them to come and see, to worship and receive their Savior, born for them in the City of David.  For the true Bread of Life is baked and ready for them in that House of Bread.

So also for you on this night, in this House of Bread, in this City of great David’s greater Son.

The Lord has made known His grace and mercy toward you, and you have heard the good news of great joy, that the Savior has in truth been born for you.  God Himself has come in the flesh, in order to be with you, to save you from your sin and death, and to bring you to Himself.  For the Child born of Mary is the Christ, who is both David’s Son and David’s Lord.  His flesh and blood are given and poured out — as a Sacrifice upon the Cross, and as a Sacrament within His Church — to be an everlasting Covenant for you, and for all those whom He calls to Himself in peace.

Do not be afraid.  The Holy Spirit calls you by this Holy Gospel to come and see, to worship and receive your Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  He sends messengers to announce what He has done, and He sends shepherds to feed and care for you with the preaching and teaching of His Word.

Give ear to this preaching, wherein the Prince of Peace is revealed to you and His great Salvation is bestowed upon you.  Seek Him here, where He is found, where He is with you in the flesh, just as He has told you.  He is here for you in His Church, in the Ministry of His Gospel.  You find Him in this Manger, in this Bethlehem, where He is set before you as your Food and Drink.  For here is the dwelling place that He has chosen, where He causes the Ark of His Covenant to rest and abide among His people.  Here He satisfies you with true and living Bread for your body and soul.

Do not merely gawk and wonder at what you see, and do not be dissuaded by appearances, but believe the Word of the Lord.  Listen carefully to Him, and live by what He says and gives to you.  Recognize Him, receive Him, and adore Him in His means of grace.  Eat freely of His good Food.

Splendor and majesty are here at His Altar, because Christ is here in His Word and Sacrament.  Strength and beauty adorn this Sanctuary, because He fills this place with His Holy Spirit by the preaching of forgiveness, and because He gives His flesh and pours out His blood for His Church.

Worship Him, therefore, in the splendor of holiness — that is, by faith in His salvation — with confidence and great joy in His Holy Gospel of forgiveness, and in love for Him, your Savior.

In His Love for you He clothes you with His own righteousness and sanctifies you by His grace.  So it is that you worship Him rightly, you honor and adore Him, and you ascribe to Him the glory due His Name, first of all by receiving what He gives to you in faith and with songs of rejoicing.

Then, also, as He calls and sends you to and from this Holy House of Living Bread, you glorify the Holy Triune God — the Father, the incarnate Son, and the Life-giving Holy Spirit — by faith and love within your own place on earth.

You worship the Holy Trinity by faithfully tending your own sheep with loving care, with patience and in peace — whatever your particular flock may be, and wherever your field may be found.

And again, you worship the Lord your God by telling your neighbor what you have seen and heard in this “City of David,” according to the Word that Christ has spoken to you by His messengers.

So, then, confess the grace and glory of your Holy Baptism into the Cross and Resurrection of the Lord Jesus.  Confess His Holy Absolution, the forgiveness of all your sins on earth and in heaven.  And confess the Holy Communion, which is the New Testament in His Body and His Blood.

Not only do you glorify God in the highest by testifying to these means of grace in conversation with your neighbor, but likewise by hearing, receiving, and treasuring these things within yourself, and by pondering them devoutly in your heart and mind as you go.  Exercise your faith in this way, by rehearsing both inwardly and outwardly the Word that you have heard.  Confess and pray with heart and lips alike, with your body and your soul, what the Lord has said and done for you.

For your great God and Savior, Jesus Christ — the Righteous One, great David’s greater Son — He has come, and He is here with you and for you, just as He said.

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

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