By Pastor Hans Fiene. Adapted for Zion by Eric Andersen
What do you expect from Jesus when He returns? How do you think Jesus feels when He looks upon His Creation and sees the mess we’ve made of it? How will this Son of God, born of Mary, come when He returns to judge the living and the dead?
Well, to answer that question, just listen to the words of Mary herself. Listen to the words that Mary speaks after John the Baptist leaps for joy when he comes into the presence of the Christ child growing in her womb.
Mary’s soul magnifies the Lord and her spirit rejoices in God her savior because God has looked upon Mary—something that should be terrifying; “cast me not away from your presence! Look not upon my sin!”—God has looked upon Mary, but instead of consuming her in His wrath, He has given her the promise of salvation. God looked upon Mary and saw a young woman who was trapped in a world filled with wicked cruelty and unbelief. God looked upon this woman and had mercy. God so loved the world that He gave us Mary, that she might give birth to the Savior, the One who would suffer for your cruelty and unbelief.
And looking down at you, God does the same. So God looks down and he sees us in the midst of an equally wicked world, filled with just as much cruelty and unbelief. God looks down on a sea of sinners who have torn themselves to pieces by despising His Word, by putting our own priorities ahead of God’s. God looks down on you and me, sinners who deserve nothing but death, and God responds by giving us Jesus, just like He did for Mary.
He who is Mighty has done great things for the lowly and broken, indeed. He gives you Jesus. Jesus heals the sick, He casts out Satan and all the demons that wage war against God’s Word for your soul. Jesus looks upon mothers who are weeping over the death of their children and puts breath back into the lungs of their sons and daughters. Jesus looks upon those who have shattered themselves to pieces with their own hatred of God and their neighbor and He pieces them back together.
Looking down on you, God gives you his Son Jesus to show strength with his arm. Or better yet, His foot. For He has placed His foot on the devil’s head and pressed down until he heard that serpent’s skull crack into pieces. He shows His strength by rescuing those who have been enslaved by their own sin.
Looking down on you, God gives you Christ who fills our hungry souls with good things, who feeds you with the bread of life, with the salvation that He promised Abraham would come to all those who believed His Word.
This is what God gave to Mary through the child He put in her womb. This is what God gives to you through that same child named Jesus. At His cross, Jesus accomplished all that Mary sang that He would. At the font He claims you as His own. At His Table, He continues to pour out His blood to take away your sins and makes you broken and shattered no more. By granting you absolution, Jesus gives you the right to stand with Him in glory, to share in the majesty of His resurrection that He accomplished on the Third Day.
From the cross, Jesus gives you His mercy. He gives those who waged war against God eternal peace with His Father. He takes those who have been wallowing in the depths of condemnation and he gives them a salvation that no one can ever take away from them.
As we look out into this world of sorrow, as we stare into the darkness of sin that we ourselves have created, we see who we have coming back to us: the Savior who has brought his light into the darkness, who has turned sorrow into joy and brought life out of death. As we draw near to another Christmas day in this valley of tears, Jesus is little baby whose birth we wait to sing, the child born to die for our sins, the infant sent by His Father to fulfill his promises, to remember his mercy, to destroy our enemies and to give us everlasting life.