December 24, 2006: Precious Is The Child

Let us pray: Dear Savior, as we stand on the verge of Your birth in human form, we’re in awe of that miracle! It boggles our minds to think that You, Whom the heavens cannot contain, agreed to take on our flesh and be born in poverty and meekness. And yet, even today that is how You meet us poor sinners.—In the meekness of Your powerful Word of truth, in the meekness of the waters of baptism, and in the meekness of bread and wine in Your holy supper. Lord, thank You for having such compassion on us! Thank You for not overpowering us. Thank You for connecting with us in humility and love. Amen


TEXT: Luke 1: 39-55

Fellow Redeemed Sinners:

The miracle of birth—that’s what we call it.  And that’s because it is! From early teenage years we are taught the mechanics of it—one sperm cell and one egg meet, conception occurs, and nine months later a baby is born. We see the same thing occurring in nature among the lower animals. It has happened billions of times. And yet, when you first hold a new-born baby in your arms and cut the umbilical cord, the miracle of birth becomes real, personal, and strikes awe in your heart. For that little baby is a part of you and all the generations of your family tree. That little baby epitomizes hopes and dreams.

Today we have baptized little baby Nikolas. And another miracle occurred as we did so. For God Almighty sent His Spirit of love to work faith into his heart and make him a heavenly child—a member of God’s family. Every soul, from conception on, is important and valuable to God. But now his little soul takes on a new value because as of today he’s a certain heir of eternal life! Yes, precious is this child!

This morning we stand on the verge of Christmas. And in order to prepare our hearts to meet the Baby Jesus, God has given us this wonderful little text from St. Luke’s gospel. In it we meet two mothers carrying two babies, both of which were miracles beyond our understanding, and both of which changed the world, our world for the better. Yes,



The virgin Mary had a cousin named: Elizabeth. She was married to a rural priest named: Zechariah. They were expecting a child in another 3 months. Mary is now pregnant with the Christ child. She goes off the visit Elizabeth, apparently under God’s guidance. We don’t know if Mary sent advance notice of her coming. We don’t know if the relatives heard of Mary’s pregnancy and told her about it, or if God did so. Personally, I believe God did it as Elizabeth has knowledge that Mary is carrying the Messiah. In any event, when they first come together and greet each other, Luke tells us this: “When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: ‘Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished.’”

Elizabeth was carrying John the Baptist. He was to pave the way for Jesus’ ministry. And right here, even before they are born, John of whom Christ later says: “No one greater has ever been born of a woman” pays homage to his Savior! Yes, even before birth Christ is precious to Mary, to Elizabeth, and even to John! Is He equally precious to you? Are you thrilled to your core at His coming? Do you plan on paying homage to Him with your time and energy over the next 24 hours? You should. For both our hopes and our fears, our longing for deliverance from a pain-filled world and our deep-seated wish for a blessed future are met in the Christ child! For He, and He alone came to make peace between God and man. He alone came to free us from death and despair. In Him alone we can reach our full potential as human beings, as children of our eternal Father. What a Christmas gift! Yes, precious is this Child!


The second half of our lesson is Mary’s song of praise to God over this miracle—both as to her miraculous conception and the pending birth of God’s Son. Although I have never given birth and never will—such is the condition of all males!—I’ll bet that every single mother’s heart is stirred by Mary’s words. For in a grandiose, majestic manner they encapsulate a new mother’s emotions—just a bit.

And her first few words set the tone for the entire “Magnificat” as it is termed. “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.” If every birth is a miracle, than this birth was the miracle of miracles! For Mary is carrying God’s eternal Son! She knows and believes the many Old Testament passages about His coming, too. And of course, God caused those prophecies to be written because He wanted people to have advance notice of the greatest event in human history. She knows He will save souls, restore broken bodies, and cut through the blindness of human pride and arrogance with perfect love and perfect forgiveness. Yes, God always keeps His word, and in Christ He proved it!  For this Mary honors God. She seeks to enlarge His name. She wants everyone to know just how precious is the Child!

Every one of us, but especially his family, would say that little baby Nikolas it precious—to us and to God. For that is what baptism means.—He’s precious to God because God now dwells within him. But what baby is precious to little Nikolas? You know the answer since Mary provides it. If he could talk, little Nikolas would say: The Baby Jesus is precious to me!” So, learn from the mouth of an infant, have your soul stirred this Christmas, leap for joy at His presence in your heart of hearts, and be saved! Amen