He who created the heavens and the earth is adored by angels, shepherds, magi, and cows. That's the Christmas message the Church has preached, confessed, and sung for more than two thousand years. Jesus, born in Bethlehem, God's Word in the flesh, true God and true man is Lord and Savior. But who is he born for? Whose Lord and Savior is he?
The angels say it straight: "to you is born a Savior..." And who do the angels say this to? Shepherds. Losers, at the bottom of the social food chain. The poor and poor in spirit. The rulers, the wealthy and powerful, and the religious leaders are asleep in their beds. They can't be bothered to pay attention to such an unremarkable person as Mary, and the unimpressive birth of her baby.
The angels point the shepherds - the whole world, actually - to the lap of Mary. There you will see Mary's son, the Father's only begotten Son. There you will hear "good news of great joy; for to you is born this day the Savior.” Everything in the heavens and on earth is now and always will be compared to this baby. He is the hub of all time and space. Everything that was, and is, and will be is drawn into orbit around him.
When everything on earth has turned against us, curses us, attacks us, throws down into the gutter, and leaves us in the dark, the Lord will come to us. Even the darkness is as light to him. When the heavens crash down upon our heads, and we want to pull the mountains over us like a blanket, to hide from everything that scares us, all creation will be bent toward our salvation by him who made all things. "For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."
Jesus is our Lord and Savior. What can the earth or heavens do against us? What can sin do to hurt or harm us? To us born a Savior, Christ the Lord! And even though we may imagine God is against us, or feel the Father is angry with us, or that our Creator has abandoned us, it's not true. There is nothing but 'laughter and joy in the Father's heart for us,' as Martin Luther said. The Father gives us a Lord and Savior, the baby, the son of Mary. And if God is for us, who is against us? (Romans 8:31)
God so loves us that he gives us a Savior. He is ours, given to us, so that the heavens and earth rejoice and praise him. In every need, even when we doubt, when we call to him he will save us, because he is our Savior - Jesus Christ our Lord.
Donavon Riley is a Lutheran pastor, conference speaker, author, Online Content Director for Higher Things, a contributing writer at 1517 Legacy Project, Christ Hold Fast, and LOGIA. Pastor Riley co-hosts the podcast: 'The Higher Things Simul Cast'. He is pastor of Saint John Lutheran Church in Webster, MN. A graduate of Concordia Universities in St. Paul, Minnesota and Portland, Oregon, Pastor Riley received his seminary and post-graduate education at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota. He colloquized into the LC-MS from the ELCA in 2008. He is married to Annie, and is the father of four children: Owen, Alma, Hoshea, and Hallel.