Matthew 1:20–21 (NKJV)
20 But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21 And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.”
Today is not just Sunday; it is Christmas Sunday – a glorious high feast day in which we celebrate the incarnation of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Only rarely does Christmas fall on a Sunday – so today is doubly blessed. I hope and pray that your day will be filled with celebration.
As we consider the birth of our Christ, it is fitting that we read the angel’s words to Joseph. The angel explains the mystery of Christ’s incarnation – He has been conceived by the Holy Ghost – and instructs Joseph to name this Child “Jesus.” The name “Jesus” means “Savior” and so the angel explains the significance of the name: you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins. He saves us from our stubborn refusal to do what is pleasing to God and to instead follow our own path. The Child born to Mary not only reveals the wonder of infancy and the glory of children – He does of course do those things – but this Child reveals God’s determination to deliver us from our sin. He was born to rescue us for we were lost and estranged from God. And so He came to offer Himself in our place so that we might be forgiven and restored to fellowship with our Creator.
As we enter into the presence of our Lord on this Day, therefore, it is fitting that we bow before Him to confess our sins. So let us confess our sin to the Lord, seeking His forgiveness through the death of Christ, rejoicing in God’s salvation. We will have a time of silent confession, followed by the corporate confession found in your bulletin. As you are able, let us kneel together as we confess.