Our beloved comes and says to his bride: "Arise, my love, my beautiful one, and come away, for behold, the winter is past; the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land."
A little baby lies in a manger. From a smelly bed of wood and straw, the Creator of trees, straw, and unwed teenage mothers looks into the eyes of she who has borne him these nine months.
As He makes little fists and wriggles around and gets used to life in a drafty cave-come-stable, love shines from His face into the eyes of two of those humans He took on flesh to save.
He loves you. He desires you. He woos you. He seeks you out. He speaks tenderly in your ear. He whispers sweet words that drip like honey. He gurgles and spits and reaches to mommy with chubby arms.
You ”the drug-dealer, the prostitute, the embezzler, the rapist, the milkman, the schoolteacher, the farmer, stay at home mom, and the pimp” He comes for all of you. And there's not a single sin this baby won't carry to the cross and destroy.
So you don't get to be depressed tonight. You don't get to worry about getting everything cooked. No wondering whether Uncle Bob will along with Cousin Betty. And no thinking yourself better than the man who shivers this night in a cardboard box on the streets East Saint Louis or who gambles the rent away on the river near Alton.
Jesus' love is wholly indiscriminate and so is Christmas joy! Joy to the world for to the world Joy has been born. Your sin is not the measure of this kid's love. Your capacity to forgive doesn't limit His. In these few pounds of flesh, all the love of the Universe dwells bodily and shines forth with every breath He draws and every wiggle his pudgy muscles make.
And since His throat doesn't have a voice, since His mouth can not yet form words, He sends His angels to a hill not far a way and announces His joy to the shepherds who sleep beside their flocks as they desperately try to hold off the night's chill.
"Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!" The angel hosts, ten thousand times ten thousand, appear among the shepherds and wake them and their sheep with songs of joy. They rejoice with a very great rejoicing. It bursts out of them. Christ has appeared, the Lord, the Anointed One, and they must praise him.
The long snowy season has passed. No more winter without Christmas. He is here, and shall be unto the very end of the age. The time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land.
The angels sing the song He has given them to sing. Listen to the words. "Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!" Peace is big with Jesus. He is born and He announces peace. He is risen from the grave and He announces peace.
Peace for me. Peace for you. Peace for all who have been begotten of His heavenly Father, born of the womb of the font, and placed in the manger of His holy church. Peace to all those who unbegotten of the Father hear the voice of Jesus as He is sung on the lips of pastors and parishioners all over the world.
The people who walked in darkness Have seen a great light; Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, Upon them a light has shined. The light of the angels has been born, and reflecting the glory of a little baby, all the hosts of heaven sing in night become bright as day.
The little King is marching forth to war, and His army has announced His arrival with a song of praise. And it is still a good song. The cadence the heavenly host sings points us to the battle the baby will fight and the victory He will win.
Jesus' humble birth in Bethlehem is his first step on the march to destroy Satan, the enemy of Christ's holy bride. And He is every bit as relentless as you expect Him to be. For millennia his song has been sung by his heralds. For millennia His bride has shut her ears. But no longer by a prophet or a herald will He announce His love.
The baby will grow, and having entered our nature, He will redeem it. He, a human being, will carry every human sin to the cross. He, the Eternal Son of God, will allow Himself to die on a cross and destroy the sin He carries.
He will do it for you, the pimp, and the milkman. He will do it for me and the rapist. And one of the sins He will destroy will be the hate we harbor toward the ones He loves.
He, not you, will suffer the hell you have earned. He, not you, will feel an eternity of God's wrath, and He will bear it all, yours, mine, and that of the whole universe, in three short hours.
The baby marches forth to war and dies, and even as He rose incorruptible on Easter morn, you will live forever, forgiven, filled with Christmas joy, peace, and life, world without end.