Christmas Eve Homily 2022
Christmas is a celebration of the birth of the great dragon slayer so that the human race might become a race of dragon slayers. In the beginning, God put Adam and Eve into a perfect Garden, in a perfect world, with a perfect marriage, a perfect job, and a perfect relationship with God and one another. And then God allowed a dragon into that world, a talking dragon, a crafty dragon, a lying dragon. And the woman listened to the voice of the dragon, and the man listened to the voice of his wife, and plunged our race into a snakebit darkness, poisoned with selfishness, bitterness, guilt, shame, death, and accusation.
But we serve the infinite, omnipotent God who is not stymied by anything. He is not puzzled by anything. There is nothing that can stop His plan, and everything that tries to is only taken up into His plan: He works all things together for good. And so in His mercy and justice and power, He promised to take away the sin of man, satisfy His perfect justice, and at the same time deliver man, crush sin, Satan, and death, and restore all things. And He promised to do it all through the seed of the woman, the seed of Eve. And we should have known that this would be beyond anything we might expect even from this first promise, since properly speaking, a woman does not have seed. A woman may conceive seed, but properly speaking, it is the male part of the human race that has seed, but his seed became poisoned, disfigured, and evil.
And so the women were barren: Sarah was barren, Rebekah was barren, Rachel was barren, and Hannah, and Ruth, down to old Elizabeth. Only God could open wombs. Only God could give conception. All their schemes turned into trouble and misery. But the promise was unmistakable: the seed of the woman would kill the dragon. But a woman does not have seed. And so the prophet finally said what everyone had to be thinking: a virgin will conceive and bear a son. The seed cannot come from a fallen man, a snake-bit man; God will provide the seed.
So He did, and Mary brought forth her Son, never having known a man, and laid him in a manger. Here at last in Bethlehem, for the first time is the seed of the woman. No other woman has ever brought forth a child without the aid of a man. The Holy Spirit hovered over that empty womb, and said Let there be light: and there was the Light of all Light, the Lightest Light, the Brightest Light. And she called His name Jesus, because He came to kill the dragon and save His people from their sins.
But the poison of the serpent infects everything. It is death and uncleanness in everything. Everything that a sin-infected person touches is covered in it. Evil thoughts, envy, jealousy, biting words, rage, bitterness, lust, pride, arrogance, hatred, deviance. You can’t wash it off. You can’t make up for it because even your good deeds are still full of it, your best deeds still reek of the serpent smell, the foul odor of selfishness, pride, fear, resentment, shame. The dragon is a tape worm sucking life from every corner. So how can the Seed of the Woman kill this hydra-dragon, this many-headed tape worm? The only way is for every infected human to die. Like all parasites, if the host dies, the parasite dies. But then the problem in our case is that the human has died.
So the Seed of the Woman was born in order to take the human race with Him down into the pit of the snake, down into the lair of the dragon, down into the heart of the earth, down into death itself. And there, to receive the justice for all our sin, receiving all our darkness, all our filth, every accusation, all the condemnation of the Devil, nailing the handwriting of ordinances that was against us to His cross, until every last one was paid. Until every single tape worm was dead, until the last drop of shame was starved, until perfect justice was paid.
The power of the dragon is the power of death, and he had the power of death because He accuses guilty sinners of their sin. But the Seed of the Woman has no sin. He can fight the dragon because the dragon has no power over Him. The dragon came and tempted Him, but He did not yield. He has been tempted in every way just as we are, yet He remained without sin, so that He can fully sympathize with us in our weakness, and yet He understands all of it better than us because He has never once yielded for a moment.
Death only holds those who are guilty. Guilt is a millstone and death is the ocean of God’s justice. And the dragon only needed to shove you off the plank, and sinners sink all by themselves by the weight of all our sin. The Dragon accuses, and guilty sinners cower in fear. The dragon accuses, and guilty sinners plunge beneath the waves of guilt and shame. But the Seed of the Woman is not guilty of any charge, and so when the seed of the woman died, when He was crucified on a Roman cross, the only way He could die was by virtue of identifying with us. He claimed us as His own, and in so doing, He claimed our filth, our sin, our rage, our evil thoughts, our drunkenness, our rebellion. He claimed it all, and sunk into death because of it all. But when it was all paid, when it was completely finished. There was nothing holding Him down. And so He rose: like light bursting out of the darkness, like a seed out of nowhere, like a buoy surging up through the waves, but when He rose, He did not rise empty handed. He rose with us in tow. He rose with us under His Everlasting Arms. He went down, identifying with us, with our serpent-sins, our snake-bit poison, but when He rose, He identified us with Him. He took us down so that we might die, and all our sin died in Him. And then He rose, so that we might live, so that all His Life and Light might live in us.
Jesus is the Seed of the Woman, and He crushed the head of the dragon. He defanged the Accuser by paying for all the accusations. But the way He did it turns all those who believe into dragon-slayers. So how do the saints overcome the dragon? Through the blood of the Lamb and their testimony (Rev. 12:11). And how does that work? If we walk in the light as He is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ, the seed of the woman, the Lamb of God, cleanses us from all sins (1 Jn. 1:7). How does the blood cleanse us? If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 Jn. 1:9).
How do you fight the dragon? By confessing your sins to God and one another and forgiving one another quickly. When you confess your sins, you stomp on the head of the dragon. When you confess your sins, a little more Light breaks out in this world. And this is our testimony: that we have been washed and forgiven by the blood of the Lamb, and now there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, and now we are not afraid anymore.
Christmas is the celebration of the birth of the great Dragon-slayer, and in Him, the birth of a race of dragon slayers. So lift up your heads. Lift up your hearts. Christ is born. The Seed of the Woman has come. The dragon has been mortally wounded, and you have been set free. So take up your arms. Confess your sins. Forgive one another. Rejoice and sing and celebrate. This your testimony, and by this testimony you overcome the dragon.
In the Name of the Father, Son, Holy Spirit, Amen.
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