“Changed By A Child”  Luke 2:8-20

This child was more than a child.  He was the answer to the prayers of people from Abraham on.  They looked for the Christ, the Messiah, God’s answer to all the promises He had made.  Isaiah cried out, “Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down.”  (64:1)  And God did. 

Christmas Eve  December 24, 2022

“Changed By A Child”  Luke 2:8-20

Rev. John R. Larson  Ascension Lutheran Church  Littleton, Colorado

            Ray Ogg, one of God’s great saints here at Ascension, died on November 18, one week after his 91st birthday.  Ray was born on Veteran’s Day and buried on Pearl Harbor Day. 

            As Ray’s widow sat beside the casket of this man who had been her husband for 64 years she was in emotional pain.  Crying.  Sad.  I felt sorry for her.

            But then I noticed something that seemed to change everything.  Norma’s daughter, Andrea, had two of her granddaughters at the funeral.  Newborns – within the first year of their life.  Pretty soon those great-granddaughters were on Norma’s lap and the tears seemed to be gone and a smile was on her face and there was laughter when she held those babies.

            You know what happened that day?  She was changed by a child.  Those little girls changed the day for a grieving woman that day.  That is what this day is all about.  Christmas is about being changed by a child.  Right?  That is why we get so excited about this day.  That is why you came to church or watched our broadcast.  You and I and billions of others have been changed by a child – Jesus Christ.

            Once I knew my title and text for this sermon I had a devotion with my home-bound folks using this reading from Luke and speaking about this thought of being changed by a child.  But before I spoke about being changed by thee child – Jesus Christ – I asked them how their lives were changed by a child.  Many of them were parents and they were amazed that they got to bring life into this world.  It was emotional for them to talk about it.  Another human being was alive because God worked a miracle in them.  They were changed by a child- their child.  Bernice Arsenault, 101-years-young, said that when she gave birth to her three, she saw a miracle happen each time.  Each time she was changed by a child.  When I visited with Glenn and Judi Rousch on Tuesday, just before the Polar Apocalypse hit, they mentioned that when you have a child the child takes priority in life.  They take over.  Your life revolves around that child and where they need to go and what they need.  Even I can remember being changed by a child when our kids were born.  I came to the conclusion that a child comes into this world for one purpose – to confirm the truth that sleep for their parents is really overrated.

            Some of you have been changed by a child.  Sometimes your change has been joy.  But sometimes the change has been pain or grief.  We have a number of our members who have suffered the death of their child and that loss has permanently pained them.  A child will never leave us the same.  We are changed.

            It is a joy to tell you that everyone of us has been changed by a child.  Not just any child, though they do change us – we are changed by a child named Jesus.  Do you remember those historic words from St. Luke?  “And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.  And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.”  (Luke 2:8-9)

            The change, initially, was not welcomed.  The sight of angels in the sky to the shepherds was disturbing and frightening.  The angel tried to lower their blood pressure.  In the very next verse the command was, “Fear Not!!”  You know the news of a child was unsettling to both Mary and Joseph.  Mary was told she was going to have a child.  But she wasn’t married.  She hadn’t slept with Joseph.  “How can this be?”  Living in her little town as an unmarried pregnant woman would be most difficult.  Joseph, engaged to Mary, received the news of her pregnancy with a broken heart.  His trust in her was gone.  Matthew in his account of the life of Jesus says that Joseph was a righteous man and did not to expose her to public disgrace and he was going to divorce her quietly.  (See Matthew 1:18-19)

            Changed by a child, this child, Jesus, was most difficult for the shepherds, Mary and Joseph – maybe even for us.  Jesus came for the purpose to bring change to all people – including you and me.  If things were all right, if we were managing on our own without a problem, then God would not have sent His Son here on Christmas Eve. 

            But God sent Jesus to change things.  God sent Jesus to change us. We can’t live in our same old ways.  We can’t live with choices that are dark, secret, not God-honoring.  We can’t live our life without any thought about what God would have us do.  Are there things in your life that aren’t right and pure and holy?  Are there words that you use, or how you speak, that must change?  Do you exhibit an attitude that is pompous or cruel?  Being changed by a child can be quite frightening.

            Into the fright of those shepherds the angel said, “Fear not: for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.”  (Luke 2:10-11)

            There are three titles of this little boy that tell us how this change is going to happen.  The three – Savior, Christ, Lord.

            Jesus, this child, comes as the Savior.  Savior means that He rescues us.  What does he rescue us from?  In Matthew’s account of these things we are told, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.  She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”  (Matthew 1:20-21)  Jesus – the name means “The Lord Saves”.

            Our sins put a barrier between us and God.  Our sins will condemn us and bring us God’s curse.  Our sins, if not forgiven by the only one who can forgive sins, will bring us damnation.  Being changed by a child, this child, Jesus, has to happen.  He is the Savior and He must be my Savior and also yours.

            What a change this child brings.  He creates a faith that has substance.  We often speak about Christmas being for children.  In many ways that is true.  Matthew 18 begins with the words, “At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, ‘Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’  He called a little child and had him stand among them.  And he said: ‘I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.  Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.’”  (Matthew 18:1-4)  He became a child and we can become a child of God who has a humble trust in Him.

            This child was more than a child.  He was the answer to the prayers of people from Abraham on.  They looked for the Christ, the Messiah, God’s answer to all the promises He had made.  Isaiah cried out, “Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down.”  (64:1)  And God did.  When Simeon, in this same chapter of Luke 2, was told that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ, he says, while holding Jesus, “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace.”  (Luke 2:29)  He was changed by a child – the Christ.

            The change that the Christmas season has on some people is too short.  You hear it all the time – people lose the Christmas Spirit all too soon.  The generosity, the kindness, the happiness of the season too quickly fades.  But when we know that this child is also Lord, leader, we have a new path to take.  You’re not in charge.  You don’t get to call the shots.  He does.  His way is the right way.  His way is the perfect way.  Have you gotten to the point in life when you are willing to give up control of your life?  Jesus Christ wants to be Lord of our lives.

            I didn’t read the entire account of the shepherds, did I?  We left them in chapter 2 of Luke, and they were afraid of what was happening.  And it wasn’t only one angel that they saw, but now, “a multitude of the heavenly host.”  But they went to Bethlehem, like they were told, and saw the child.  And then things changed.  Their fear left.  We read, “And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they heard and seen, as it was told unto them.”  (Luke 2:20)  Isn’t that something?  They were changed by a child.

            This Christmas I hope that all of us are changed by a child – Thee child – Jesus.  Savior.  Christ.  Lord.  Amen!!      




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