Elder's Prayer - December 24, 2017
Please find below the notes from the Elder's Prayer this past Sunday.
Christ the Lord is born today. It's the time of year when we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
As Christians, we aren't simply celebrating the birth of a baby, which is certainly an event worth celebrating. The birth of Christ that we celebrate at this time of year is different. The birth of this baby was a unique event in the history of mankind.
The birth of Christ is meant to accomplish much in God's plan to redeem us from our sin.
This baby was born to be despised and rejected by men. God came to his creation as one of them and they will hate him.
This baby was born to be afflicted, to suffer. Even though sinless, he will take on himself some of the burden that sin places on someone who is a sinner.
This baby was born to be pierced and crushed for sin. The punishment that the sinner deserves for his sin, this baby will take for himself.
This baby was born to be humiliated in his death. In his crucifixion, this baby will be treated like a common sinner, as if he were just a sinner, nothing special, common.
But this baby was also born to live an obedient life. This baby will take upon himself the burden of God's law - all of the requirements, expectations for total obedience - and he will fulfill them. This baby will completely, totally, obey God in all that he does, something that we (sinners) cannot do.
This baby was born to show us the Father. When he is older, this baby will say 'whoever has seen me has seen the father' and 'the words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the father who dwells in me does his works.' This baby will show us what the God of creation is like - his love, his compassion, his righteousness and holiness - so that when we see this baby, we will see God.
This baby was born to bring us peace. Where once we were enemies of God, opposed to him, objects of wrath, this baby's life and death will bring us instead into fellowship with God, to the point where God will call us his sons and daughters.
In all of that, this baby was born to glorify God. In all of his actions and his words and his accomplishments, God is first, God is primary, God is the reason he will do what he does. This baby will show us what it means to glorify God.
And because this baby will glorify God in all that he does, God will in turn glorify him, bestowing upon him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of the Father.
Father, you are loving and kind and good. There is no other god but you. You are worthy of glory and praise.
According to your plan, you sent Christ to earth as a baby. You chose the place, the time, the earthly parents. All of the details that we think of when we consider the birth of Christ, you set in order - the wise men, the stars, the shepherds who hear and see the angels in the sky. All of these things were under your control.
Help us to consider our own lives in light of what you accomplished through the birth of your only son.
Help us to learn humility. The creator of the earth came to earth as a helpless baby - one who needed to be fed and cleaned and clothed. He became dependent upon others.
Open our eyes to our pride - our pride of independence, of self-sufficiency, of self-reliance. No matter our knowledge or our position, we need you and we need other people that you put in our lives.
Help us to learn obedience. Jesus obeys you in being born as a baby, in saying what you give him to say, and in doing what you have him do.
Show us our sin, our disobedience. Point out to us, even in small ways, where we disobey, where we take glory away from you. Remind us that we glorify you when we obey your word.
Help us to trust you. When Jesus comes as a baby and submits to death on a cross, he shows his total trust in you - your word, your will.
Help us to trust you in every circumstance of our lives - in good, in bad, in exciting, in boring. Preserve and grow our trust in you through all of our trials and temptations.
And help us to rejoice in all that you accomplished beginning with the birth of your son. We can get distracted with many other thoughts during this time of the year - what we need to get, what we didn't get, all the different demands on our time.
Through all of that, help us to remain joyful as we consider the redemption and peace that you brought to us through your son, Jesus Christ.