Proclaimed: 2023 Christmas Sermon Seeds Series
The Lord has proclaimed
to the end of the earth:
Say to daughter Zion,
“See, your salvation comes;
his reward is with him.”
— Isaiah 62:11 NRSV
Christmas as a day and a season proclaims the arrival of both a message and a messenger. In Jesus the Christ, they are one. The ancient prophecy has been fulfilled, is being fulfilled, and will be fulfilled. The promise has been met, is being met, and will be met. Christ has come, is coming, and will come again. The messenger embodies the message of salvation, redemption, liberation, and restoration that they bring into the world.
“Christ came into the world as a little baby. A baby who embodies the joy, peace, and hope of being alive. The world that Christ entered was not democratic and free; rather, it was a world that knew occupation and domination under the Roman Empire. Poverty, patriarchy, and strict laws created divisions based on gender, age, and religious status. Illness and infectious disease pervaded the world, and most died young while even fewer made it past their middle age without serious ailment. This world from the distant past is not far from the world we find ourselves in today.”
Grace Ji-Sun Kim, Hope in Disarray
How do we respond to the conditions of our world? How do we, Christ’s church, embody the joy, peace, and hope of being alive? How do we participate in the kindom of God in conflict with the empires of our day?
Salvation has become known an individual gift given with no more significance attached to it than many of the generic gifts advertised by retail outlets in the days, weeks, and even months before Christmas. Yet, our days leading up to Christmas are filled with Advent anticipation, reminding us that Jesus comes into the world to save, redeem, and restore the world. From Mary’s prophetic song of praise to Zechariah’s prophetic words to Jesus proclamation about themself, the good news is clearly to the peoples and the nations. Salvation and vindication are collective and communal exercises. That is the hope of Christmas…the kindom brought from heaven to earth.
10 The angel said, “Don’t be afraid! Look! I bring good news to you—wonderful, joyous news for all people. 11 Your savior is born today in David’s city. He is Christ the Lord. 12 This is a sign for you: you will find a newborn baby wrapped snugly and lying in a manger.” 13 Suddenly a great assembly of the heavenly forces was with the angel praising God. They said, 14 “Glory to God in heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors.” – Luke 2:10–14
Proclaim God’s salvation. Proclaim God’s vindication.
December 24/25, 2023 (Christmas Eve/Day): Isaiah 62:6-12 | “Salvation”
December 31: 2023: Isaiah 61:10-62:3 | “Vindication”
“A guiding question might be how can we hear and be guided by the God who is Alpha and Omega, who precedes the creation of the canon, transcends it, and continues to speak and intervene after the construction of an authoritative biblical canon? God is not the canon; the canon is not God. But the biblical witnesses, in their various contexts, testify—imperfectly and subjectively—about God, Jesus, and fallible human beings and institutions. The NT testifies that the HB Scriptures testify about Jesus through whom God brings salvation to the world (John 3:16).”
Mitzi J. Smith
The Rev. Dr. Cheryl A. Lindsay, Minister for Worship and Theology (firstname.lastname@example.org), also serves as a local church pastor, public theologian, and worship scholar-practitioner with a particular interest in the proclamation of the word in gathered communities.