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“Your Part in the Christmas Pageant”
Luke 2:1-20


Pastor Kevin Vogts
Holy Cross Lutheran Church
Dakota Dunes, South Dakota
Christmas Eve—December 24, 2011

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Each year children all around the world act out the story of Christ’s birth, as our children at Holy Cross did during our service last Sunday.  Some take the part of the Wise Men; others are the shepherds; some play the part of the Christmas angels; two take the roles of Mary and Joseph.  What’s “Your Part in the Christmas Pageant”?

“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered, “May it be to me as you have said.”  “And Joseph did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife.” 

Mary and Joseph opened their hearts and lives to Jesus, the Savior of the world.  Like Mary and Joseph, open your heart and life to Jesus, for he is your Savior.  He is God, come down to earth and made man, born for you, to live and die as payment for your sins.  As the carols says, “Nails, spear shall pierce him through, the cross be borne, for me, for you. . .  He opened the heavenly door and we are blessed forevermore, Christ was born to save!”

Unto you is born a Savior, who is Christ, the Lord!  Your sins are all forgiven because of the Babe of Bethlehem.  Unto you is born a Savior, who is Christ, the Lord!  He rose from the dead and ascended into heaven and will take you there to live forever.  Unto you is born a Savior, who is Christ, your Lord!  Like Mary and Joseph open your heart and life to Jesus, your Savior.  The last verse of “Away in a Manger” is a little prayer that puts it beautifully:

Be near me, Lord Jesus, I ask Thee to stay,
Close by me forever, and love me, I pray.
Bless all the dear children in Thy tender care,
And take us to heaven to live with Thee there.

What’s “Your Part in the Christmas Pageant”?   Like Mary and Joseph open your heart and life to Jesus, your Savior.

“And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.’” 

The angels sang praises to God, giving him glory in the highest.  Like the angels, pray, praise, and give thanks, give glory to God in the highest!  “Joy to the earth, the Savior reigns!  Let men their songs employ.” 

Worship the Lord in your heart, and worship the Lord here in his house.  As the Lord tells us in the Commandment, “Remember the Sabbath Day by keeping it holy.”  And as Psalm 100 says, “Enter into his gates with thanksgiving and into his courts with praise.  Be thankful unto him and bless his name.”

Like the angels give glory and praise to God with your lips, and also give glory and praise to God with your life.  As Paul says in Colossians, “Living a life worthy of the Lord, bearing fruit in every good work.” 

What’s “Your Part in the Christmas Pageant”?  Like the angels, pray, praise, and give thanks, give glory to God in the highest!

“And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, ‘Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.’  And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger.  And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this Child.’”

The shepherds, when they heard the Good News, spread the Word.  Like the shepherds, spread the Word, make known abroad the Good News which is told you concerning this Child.  Make known the Good News that he takes away the sin of the world, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  Make it known by your words and by the example of your life lived for him; make it known right where you are, among your own family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, community; and make it known abroad, throughout the world, supporting the mission work of Christ’s Church with your prayers and offerings.

What’s “Your Part in the Christmas Pageant”? Like the shepherds, spread the Word, make known abroad the Good News which is told you concerning this Child.

“Behold, Wise Men came from the East. . . saying, ‘Where is he who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the East and have come to worship him.’ . . .  they opened their treasures and presented gifts to him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.”

The Wise Men gave precious gifts to Jesus.  Like the Wise Men, open your treasures and present to Jesus your precious gifts.  Gold, representing your financial treasures; frankincense, which was burned as an offering in ancient temples, representing your worship and prayers; myrrh, an used as ointment, representing your service to the Lord and your fellow man.  As the hymn says:

As with gladness men of old did the guiding star behold . . .
As they offered gifts most rare at Thy cradle, rude and bare . . .
So may we . . . all our costliest treasures bring, Christ, to Thee, our heavenly King.

What’s “Your Part in the Christmas Pageant”?  Like the Wise Men, open your treasures and present to Jesus your precious gifts. 

Each year the children are anxious to find out what part they will play in the Christmas pageant.  What about you?  Will you be one of the Wise Men?  Or a shepherd?  Or an angel?  Or Mary or Joseph?  Yes, you will be them all.

Like Mary and Joseph, you will open your heart and life to Jesus, your Savior.   Like the angels, you will pray, praise, and give thanks, giving glory to God in the highest!  Like the shepherds, you will spread the Word, making known abroad the Good News which is told you concerning this Child.  Like the Wise Men, you will open your treasures and present to Jesus your precious gifts.

All that is, “Your Part in the Christmas Pageant.”

Amen.

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