“Unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord,” by Louis A. Dole

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“Unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” – Luke 2:11

Readings

Isaiah 43:1-13 · Luke 2:1-14 · Psalm 86

Sermon

Today we celebrate the Advent. The story is a familiar one and always inspiring. Each returning Christmas should bring a deeper appreciation and rejoicing. That Jesus Christ took upon Himself our nature and came upon earth to be our Redeemer and Savior is the vital doctrine of Christianity. The more we examine it the more wonderful it appears, and the more it reveals the love, wisdom, and mercy of our Heavenly Father and His special care for the happiness of every human being. Our text is a part of the angel’s message at the time of the Lord’s birth. It was the most important news that an angel could bring to men. It was tidings of great joy which should be to all people. It was the fulfillment of a prophecy made many centuries before.

The light which shone on the shepherds at Bethlehem and which guided the wise men on their way has increased during the years as the meaning of the Advent became more clearly known.

The birth of the Lord at Bethlehem was the first step toward the restoration of order in the spiritual world, and the first step, too, in the renewal of hope and progress in this world. History records no darker days than those that immediately preceded the birth of the Savior. Tradition has it that the whole world was at peace at the time of the Incarnation. But it was a peace that came not of virtue but of exhaustion.

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“The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light,” by Louis A. Dole

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“The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.” – Isaiah 9:2

Reading

Isaiah 9 · Luke 4:16-44 · Psalm 21

Sermon

This text tells of the condition of the world which made necessary the coming of the Lord. At Nazareth, where the Lord was brought up, He went into the synagogue, took up the book of Isaiah, and read the words “The spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.”

The Old Testament throughout tells of the fall of man from his pristine state of innocence and dependence upon the Lord until evil had gained the upper hand and held men in bonds which they of themselves could not break. And when the Lord came into the world, He did not look upon humanity as if it were moving on in the way of spiritual progress. In His eyes evil was not seen to be loosening its hold upon men. He spoke of men as blind. He spoke of them as bound and in prison. He spoke of them as lost. He spoke of the Scriptures as being made of none effect. He spoke of the necessity of a judgment.

Thus the Gospels represent the Lord as considering man to be in spiritual danger. And He came into the world to save men from this danger. He did actually come into the world. He took our nature upon Him and by means of a direct combat with the powers of evil did accomplish a redemption. He lived humanity’s life in the midst of humanity’s need and helplessness and provided the means of salvation for all men and for all time. So He was able to say, “Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.” And then of His uplifting power in the days to come He immediately adds, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.”

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“They shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us,” by Louis A. Dole

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“They shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.” – Matthew 1:23

Readings

Isaiah 61 · Matthew 1:18-25 · Psalm 85

Sermon

Again we celebrate the coming of the Lord into the world. The Gospel story of the Incarnation is brief, and is told in simple terms, yet there never was a more wonderful story. It is the story of the Divine Being reaching forth to men with the purpose of revealing Himself to them, making Himself known, and bringing salvation to a world that had lost all knowledge of Him and that was rushing toward destruction. The more we examine this story the more wonderful it appears, the more it reveals the love of our Heavenly Father and His special care for each one of us.

And the story sets vividly before us the character of the world into which He came, the sinfulness and blindness of men. John writes, “And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not… He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.” God had come to be regarded as man’s most terrible enemy. Now He was coming to subdue man’s real enemies, to rescue him from their power, and to show that He is man’s infinite and unchanging Friend.

It is important to keep in mind the fact that it was God Himself who came into the world. If we lose sight of this, we lose sight of the essential truth. He was not an angel, He was not a son born from eternity, He was not a man filled with a larger measure of Divine love and wisdom. He was God, the only God of heaven and earth. He came to be “God with us.”

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“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek,” by Louis A. Dole

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“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek.” – Isaiah 61:1

Readings

Isaiah 42:1-13 · Luke 1:1-17 · Psalm 145:8-21

Sermon

The season of Advent turns our thoughts toward Christmas and urges us to prepare for the contemplation of the most wonderful event of time or of eternity.

Christmas is properly a time of rejoicing. The announcement of the angel to the shepherds keeping watch over their flocks by night was, “I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people.”

The coming of the Lord into the world is not an isolated event in the history of humanity. We celebrate Christmas in commemoration of an event which took place long ago, but our rejoicings at this season should be very personal. For this event of long ago has a very direct bearing on our own life.

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“Glory to God in the highest,” by Louis A. Dole

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“Glory to God in the highest.” – Luke 2:14

Readings

Isaiah 40:1-11 · Luke 2:1-18 · Psalm 111

Sermon

In our celebration of the nativity there are always certain incidents and figures which stand out prominently in our minds: the shepherds abiding in the fields, the angel messenger and the multitude of the heavenly host, the wise men from the east, and the star.

The Incarnation was an historic fact, and these incidents connected with the birth of our Lord help us to become more certain of it as an historic fact. The picture stays in the mind and grows in meaning for us.

It is hard for the natural minded men of this day to believe in the coming of the Lord upon earth to save men from spiritual death. “He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.” From a finite and merely natural point of view the coming of God into the world in our flesh is incredible. Today multitudes do not believe it, and those who do accept it in tradition evade the full force of it in thought and act. There are few who believe that it was Jehovah, the I AM, the only Divine Being, who came into the world, who stood side by side with men, and associated with publicans and sinners.

Yet this is the essential principle of the New Church and of all true religion. It is the vital doctrine of Christianity. The angel announced that God in person would visit men: “Unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” It was not some messenger who had come from God. The angel himself was such a messenger. It was not some secondary Divine person. It was the promised Messiah, whom Isaiah had called “The everlasting Father.”

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“Unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord,” by Louis A. Dole

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“And the angel said unto them, 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 Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” – Luke 2:10, 11

Readings

Jeremiah 23:1-8 · Luke 2:1-14 · Psalm 89:1-18

Sermon

The history of every individual parallels the history of the human race. So we can see ourselves mirrored in the history of humanity. Every child falls from the innocence of infancy. The same serpent that tempted Eve tempts us as children and with the same illusions and fallacious hopes. The senses and the natural mind are first developed. They lie close to the earth. We pluck fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, and we eat it and fall. Again, there is a Cain in every one – the tendency to trust in faith alone, profession of belief without the constant effort to amend our lives in accordance with it. And there is in each of us an Enoch that gathers up the remains of innocence and conceals them in the inner recesses of the soul, preserving them for later use, an Enoch that walks with God and no longer appears in outward life, for God takes him. Every life is beset by a flood of false principles. Everyone goes down into Egypt to get corn to sustain him in intellectual and spiritual famine, and he has to work his way to freedom by the wanderings and temptations of the wilderness.

As in the history of the human race so in the life of the individual, the Lord sends His prophets to warn and instruct. And He Himself comes to us as we can bear His presence and will heed His counsels. In His love He protects, guides, and sustains us in all our ways, withholds from us all the evils that we will permit Him to withhold, and gives us all the blessings we will receive from Him.

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“Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?” by Louis A. Dole

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“Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his anointed.” – Psalm 2:1-2

“And… the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt… for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.” – Matthew 2:13

Readings

Isaiah 11 · Matthew 2:1-15 · Psalms 110, 111

Sermon

Again we celebrate the festival of Christmas. It is a time of the gathering together of families, when those away turn their thoughts toward home and seek to get back to their firesides. It is a time of good will and the exchanging of gifts.

Mary and Joseph, because of the decree of Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed, came to Bethlehem, their ancestral home, and there the Lord was born.

Our real home is not in this world but in heaven, and the Lord came into the world that He might become our Redeemer and Savior and show us the way to our heavenly homes. Heaven is a state of peace and good will, where there is the desire to help and to make others happy. The Christmas season embodies in a measure this spirit. The Lord continually works in us to lead us into that state of kindliness and willing helpfulness that is our heavenly home and which gives this season its special joy.

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“There went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed,” by Louis A. Dole

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“There went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.” – Luke 2:1

Readings

Joel 3:1-17 · Luke 1:26-38 · Psalms 75, 76

Sermon

At this time the thoughts of all in the Christian world are turned toward Christmas. The Advent of the Lord has a twofold meaning – its historical meaning and its spiritual meaning. Historically we celebrate an event which took place about twenty centuries ago, an event which was a turning point in the history of mankind. In the light of the spiritual meaning involved in the story of the Incarnation it is possible for us to understand what really happened. The Lord came into the world in human form that He might overcome evil and redeem mankind. It is this deliverance that the Advent season should mean for us. We should celebrate the real event rather than merely the outward manifestation. What we really should celebrate is the beginning of a Divine process by which evil was subjugated, the light of truth brought into the world, and spiritual freedom restored to man.

That process, begun with the Incarnation, was completed on the Lord’s part when His work on earth was finished. His birth was the dawn of a new day and was fittingly accompanied by angel songs. It is important for us to know the historical facts and to believe them, but these facts would have little meaning if it were not possible for the Lord to be born spiritually in the lives of men today. He came into the world never to leave it. He says, “Lo, I am with you alway,” fulfilling the words of the prophet: “His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and his dominion is from generation to generation.” The Gospel drama from the Nativity to the Resurrection must be reenacted in individual lives.

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