“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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“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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