It has become very evident to many people that death is a reality. The recent death of Carrie Fisher at age 60 has reminded us once again that anyone can die. Put with that the death of George Michael at age 53 and the circle draws tighter. We don't like to talk about death. We don't want to think about death. After all, it is so, well, final. When you die, that is the end. No more train rides. No more Christmas presents. No more celebrations with family. It is just the end. Final. Complete.
Let's not talk about it. Let's talk about the Cubs and the way they will win the 2nd World Series in a row in 2017. Let's focus on the weather. Or perhaps how fast time seems to go the older you get. Wait, that one brings us back to death. So drop that one. How about...you get the idea.
But death is a reality. Every one of us is going to die. Like it or not, we face death all day long. We are like sheep lead to the slaughter. It might be from an accident or an illness or a disease or who knows what. But death will come. In my life here at St. Paul's and in my personal life, in the 1st 3 weeks of December 2016, I was personally touched by 7 deaths. That is quite a few. Folks were even saying, "Enough is enough. No more deaths." I agree. No more deaths. But my desire to not have to face death again doesn't stop it. For Carrie Fisher, Princess Leia, died. She didn't just become "one with the force" as the Star Wars universe would like to say. She died. So will you and me. Ugh. Really? Do we have to say that?
Yes we do. It is for that reason that the Son of God came into the world on that silent night so many years ago. It was because you and I must face death that the holy Child of Bethlehem was born. He comes because you and I are dying. We are dying for the very reason that we are sinners. Ever since sin came into the world through Adam and Eve, death came with it. "The day you eat of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, you will surely die." They did and all mankind dies. They see that in the death of their son Abel at the hands of their other son Cain. We see that in the death of the Carl Rhymer, Isabelle Ackerman, Amelia Kilzer, Lorene Wehmeyer and Amy Trau here at St. Paul's. That reminds us of the reality of sin. Death comes from sin and so all die because all have sinned.
So we have the Son of God, born as a human, a baby, in Bethlehem. He comes for one reason - to save you and I. He comes to give life that will not end. He comes to give eternal life to all who believe in Him. He comes as the Savior of mankind from the reality of sin and death. The wages of sin might be death but the gift of God, a free gift paid for by the blood of His only Son, is eternal life given to all who believe in Him. Life from death. That is what we are given at Christmas. The best gift of all is given to each of us. It is bestowed upon us by the Holy Spirit through the waters of Baptism and through the working of the Word. It is ensured in us through the bread and wine which is the body and blood of Christ Jesus.
Life. We don't like to talk about death so let's talk about life. Life is given through Jesus Christ. The one thing I always think about when I hear about another person dying, is this: Did they believe in Jesus as their Savior? If they did, I rejoice. If they didn't, I am devastated for it truly is a terrible death. Do I like any death? No. But the death of a Christian is a victory over sin and over death for in Christ, they do not die but they live, forever, eternally, in heaven, with the Savior, without any of the things that we face here on earth.
Life. Let's talk about it. To do so, we must talk about Jesus. Let's talk about Him.