I have a number of books tagged “Christmas” in my library of
crappy old books.
|Some are stacked up on the coffee table.|
|Others are scattered about the joint. (That Grandma Moses book on the floor by Snoopy’s Lights & Display Contest is open to “Waiting for Christmas.“)|
One unassuming little volume, Great Sermons on the Birth of Christ by Celebrated Preachers (Wilbur M. Smith, ed. W. A. Wilde Co., Natik, Massachusetts. 1963)
|was laying on the hearth under the Universe of Magnetic Pepper Lights.|
That’s where I found it on the afternoon of Christmas Day and began to read… .
If the sun, moon, and stars save, I can call them saviors. If St. Bartholomew or St. Anthony or a pilgrimage to St. James or good works save, then they surely are my savior. If St. Francis, then he is my savior. But then what is left of the honor of the child who was born this day, whom the angel calls Lord and Savior, and who wants to keep his name, which is Savior and Christ the Lord. If I set up any savior except this child, no matter who or what it is or is called, then he is not the Savior. But the text says that he is the Savior. And if this is true — and it is the truth — then let everything else go.
One who hears the message of the angel and believes it will be filled with fear, like the shepherds. True, it is too high for me to believe that I should come into this treasure without any merit on my part. And yet, so it must be. In the papacy this message was not preached in the pulpit, and I am afraid that it will disappear again. It was the other message that the devil initiated and has allowed to remain in the papacy. All their hymns are to this effect. Among the Turks the devil has completely wiped it out. Therefore, remember it, sing it, and learn it, while there is still time! I fear that time will come when we shall not be allowed to hear, believe, and sing this message in public, and the time has already come when it is no longer understood; though Satan does allow it to be spoken with the mouth, as the papists do. But when it comes to declaring that he is born for you, and to singing:
In dulci jubilo
Now sing with hearts aglow!
Our delight and pleasure
Lies in praesepio,
Like sunshine is our treasure
Matris in gremio
Alpha est et O!
— this he is unwilling to allow.
What we have said, then, has been about that second faith, which is not only to believe in Mary’s Son, but rather that he who lies in the virgin’s lap is our Savior, that you accept this and give thanks to God, who so loved you that he gave you a Savior who is yours. And for a sign he sent the angel from heaven to proclaim him, in order that nothing else should be preached except that this child is the Savior and far better than heaven and earth. Him, therefore, we should acknowledge and accept confess him as our Savior in every need, call upon him, and never doubt that he will save us from all misfortune. Amen.
“Sermon on the Afternoon of Christmas Day”
December 25, 1530