Sermon for 12.26.21 1st Sunday after Christmas
Text: Luke 2:22-40
Theme: Prepared for heaven
*In the Name of the Father…Amen.*
*The Gospel lesson serves as our sermon text for this morning.*
*Grace, mercy, and peace be yours from God the Father through our Lord and
Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.*
*Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, let us pray:*
*Heavenly Father, we pray that we hearers will know we are prepared for
heaven because of the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
*Dear brothers and sisters of Christ Jesus: We’ve just celebrated Christmas
yesterday, and today we’re back in church to continue our celebration of
the gift God has given to the world—and, most important, to each one of
us!—namely, Jesus the Christ! *
*With our focus in these days on the amazing reality that at Christmas God
came down to earth, the sermon title may sound a little out of season:
“Prepared for Heaven!” *
*Well, of course, we know heaven isn’t just something we get around to
talking about at Easter or maybe Ascension, when Jesus, after his time on
earth, ascends back to heaven. *
*No, you know very well that the birth of Christ Jesus has everything to do
with your preparation for heaven. *
*The truth of the matter is that for us to be in heaven someday, we need
Jesus Christ coming down to earth . . . because without his coming here we
can’t have peace with God. And that, peace with God, is the key element of
the Gospel—and therefore also the key to heaven. *
*Let us all be very clear about this: We Are Prepared for Heaven Because
Our Savior Brings Us Peace with God!*
*I. Christmas in the eyes of the world is all about family, nostalgia,
traditions, and gifts, without any thought of the eternal ramifications.*
*This peace with God is something that all men, women, and children need. *
We need this because all of us have sinned and fallen short of the glory of
All people by their sins have earned eternal death and damnation.
This truth of the circumstances of all people is something that does not
play well in the ears of the world.
Christmas isn’t supposed to be a time of thinking about sins and
It’s supposed to be a time of joy and goodwill toward all men.
It’s a time for holly, traditions and everything in between, isn’t it?
*For many people, Christmas is a holiday and time of tradition for the
family and nothing more. *
*Many people don**’**t know Jesus as the great gift that God has given to
the world. *
*In fact, Jesus sort of gets in the way of the fun and festivity if you
take him and his words too seriously.*
*Of course, I**’**m talking about the grown-up Jesus. *
*The baby Jesus wrapped in swaddling cloths lying in the manger is so cute
and adorable, the stuff of the Precious Moments figurines. *
*That image of Jesus many in the world embrace and remember is one of
* Even the Holy Family is an image that**’**s viewed kindly; after all, it*
*’**s an illustration of family, and Christmas is a time for family.*
*And, oh, how the people of the world love the gift-giving part of
*Merchants love it because the success or failure of their enterprises
often depends on the Christmas shopping season. *
*The recipients of the gift-giving love it because of the gifts they get,
unless they don**’**t get the gift they**’**ve been longing for. *
*The sad part about all the gift-giving is a lack of understanding of the
greatest gift that God has given to the world.*
*Most people don**’**t know they need a Savior. *
They only see a little baby, remember him for this time of year, and then
forget about him until it’s time for another Christmas celebration.
Truthfully, there are many who don’t see Jesus at all, because their
Christmas celebrations center around a fat bearded man in a red suit.
The vast majority of the people of the world take no thought and have no
knowledge of the eternal ramifications of the birth of Jesus the Christ.
*And of equal concern is the reality that some Christians get caught up in
the frenzy and glitter of Christmas without taking time to reflect on the
gift of God and the eternal ramifications of the gift of Jesus.*
* II. Christmas in the eyes of believers is God**’**s promised peace
that prepares us to receive and share heaven.*
*The birth of Jesus is a joyous reality because it was prophesied and
promised by God for many years prior to its fulfillment. *
*That**’**s why Simeon and Anna were so happy and rejoiced upon seeing the
Christ Child. *
They’d been waiting and longing for the Savior.
When Mary and Joseph brought Jesus to the temple, they didn’t just see a
little baby; they also saw their Savior.
They saw the Savior of mankind.
Simeon and Anna, by the power of the Holy Spirit, saw and knew the great
gift of God to them and to all mankind.
*Simeon points out God**’**s grace is for everyone and needed by everyone
when he states in what we know as the Nunc Dimittis: *
“Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your
word; for my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the
presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for
glory to your people Israel” (verses 29–32).
Notice that this salvation is not only for God’s people Israel (the Jews)
but also for the Gentiles.
We know this to be true because God tells us that he desires all people to
come to the knowledge of the truth and be saved (cf 1 Timothy 2:4).
*If you remember anything from this sermon, remember that we are prepared
for heaven because our Savior brings us peace with God! *
*The birth of Christ is a great blessing because Jesus, true God, became
incarnate so that he might live perfectly under the Law and satisfy that
Law for all mankind. *
*Jesus had to live willingly, perfectly under the Law of God as a man in
order to experience the Law of God in the same way that we experience it. *
*He had to be able to be tempted as we are tempted.*
*Jesus was tempted in every way that you and I are tempted. *
*He is truly human. *
Jesus lived perfectly under the Law of God without ever sinning.
And in fulfillment of the Law, he took on the sins of all mankind so that
he once and for all could pay their price, completely, on the cross.
We are therefore saved by grace through faith in Christ Jesus.
We can say with Simeon that we are able to depart in peace, because through
faith in Christ Jesus we see, hear, and know that we are at peace with the
heavenly Father and we are certain of our eternal salvation.
*And we, as believers in Christ Jesus, are enabled by the Holy Spirit to
exhibit goodwill toward our fellow men by sharing with them the truth of
who Jesus is. *
*Speak to those whom you know who don**’**t know the eternal ramifications
of the birth of Jesus. *
*Help those around you know that preparation for heaven comes through faith
in Christ Jesus. *
*Christmas is not just about the baby Jesus but also the resurrected Lord
Jesus Christ. *
*Remember that the hope of Anna and Simeon is tied up in Jesus**’**
meritorious work on their behalf as well as ours. *
*Christmas must never be divorced from Calvary, Jesus**’** death, and the
resurrection of Christ and Easter. *
*Anna and Simeon were so joyful because by the power of the Holy Spirit
they believed in the Christ and believed in their heavenly home. *
*And notice from our sermon text that Anna and Simeon then witnessed of the
*God bless you and empower you as you share with others the joy you know in
*Jesus!The reality that you are prepared for heaven! Amen.*
*Let us pray:*
(29) “Now, Lord, you are allowing your servant to leave in peace as you
(30) My eyes have seen your salvation,
(31) which you have prepared for all people to see.
(32) He is a light that will reveal salvation to the nations and bring
glory to your people Israel.“
*The peace of God, which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and
minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.*
*In the Name of the Father…Amen.*