The Prelude – December 24th

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God at Work

In the first words of the scripture, we see God at work. The miraculous creation of all things. And these things are glorious: the heavens themselves declare the glory of God and the skies above proclaim His handiwork. Mankind is the glory of God and woman is the glory of man.

By the word of His power, he has sustained all things. The universe and kingdoms. Atoms and individuals.

His effort is holy effort – wonderful, unique, set-apart, and perfect. He has carefully ordered history and the unfolding of time in such a way to reveal His infinite self, to the beings he made for grace. As we will sing, He is mercy, and has expended Himself in merciful ways. He is love and his law works to lead us in love.

And for infinite time, he has planned and worked and moved all of His creation, His angels, His enemies, His image-bearers toward a day when He would come to be among them.

Men at Work

And what of mankind? Our efforts have not been lame, but energized and vigorous. But, shamefully, not life-giving. Rather, death-pursuing. As we will sing in O Holy Night “long lay the world, in sin and error pining.” Pining, an effort of day-dreaming, yearning, and seeking after. And the resulting ‘oppression and chains’ constrain us. As we sing in Joy to the World this is a curse that is found, far reaching, and unstoppable by any of our efforts. It was prompted by a willing choice of rebellion.

Christ came to Work

Chains shall He break and in His name shall all oppression shall cease
Truly He taught us to love one another

Love has come to walk on water
Turn the water into wine
Touch the leper, bless the children
Love both human and divine

He comes to make His blessing flow

far as the curse is found

He was bruised for our transgressions
And He bears eternal scars
He was raised for our salvation
And His righteousness is ours

To save us all from Satan’s pow’r
When we were gone astray

Merry Men at Rest

And what are we to do in response? What can we do? Can we out work the work that is done on our behalf? Can we hold on tighter to a curse that will be overwhelmed by blessing?

We rest in Christ. We cease our rebellious route, and give up on our slavish works-based attempt at righteousness. And instead of scorn we offer,

Tidings of comfort and joy, God rest ye merry gentlemen.

The weary world rejoices and a grateful chorus raise we.

O come let us adore Him, Christ, the Lord.

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