Christmas Day 2011
“All I Want for Christmas are Beautiful Feet”
A blessed Christmas day to you, dear Christians. I hope and pray your celebration of our Lord's birth has been, and will be joyous. I hope you share some time with friends and family. I hope you get some good food to eat. Maybe we can even watch some good football tonight. But most of all I hope you got a nice gift this year. Yes, I know we all did. We always do.
Did you get any socks? Now there's a gift. What's more practical and boring than socks? What's more everyday? What says that special time of year less than socks? Something that goes on your feet – every day. Socks – not the pretty stockings with all the candy and goodies. Socks that cover a rather inglorious part of your body. I can't think of anything I'd rather get, anything less exciting than socks. Socks are boring. Feet are every-day. Except for a day like today.
Isaiah writes: “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness”
Picture this. Jerusalem has been at war. It's been a long fought battle. The enemy is relentless. The city is under the cloud of doom. The soldiers march off to battle. The outcome is unknown. The women and children wait in the safety of the city walls – waiting to hear word. Over the mountain, someone will appear. Will it be the enemy flag, raised high in conquering might? Will it be our own bedraggled and defeated soldiers, retreating for one last desperate stand? No.
It's a lone messenger. And he's running. He's exuberant and ebullient. His message is urgent. His news is good. He brings good tidings of great joy. Peace! Victory! The warfare is over. The people are safe. The champion has won! Death does not win the day.
The watchmen on the city walls see him, and they know what it means! They start to sing together – a song of joy – a song that hasn't been heard since this terrible war started. Soon the women and children join in and the whole city raises its voice together, “Our God reigns! He has given us the victory!”
But it all started with those feet. The feet of the messenger. When they crossed the mountaintop. Feet, which are usually dirty and dusty and smelly. But feet which bring good news are a blessed, beautiful sight for sore and weary and fearful eyes.
Jesus Christ is born. He takes on human flesh. He takes a human body. Eyes, ears, mouth, nose, hands, legs... feet. Those precious baby feet stick out of the manger, and they are such good news for us. More innocent than any human babe ever born, this holy one of God is the bearer of the best news ever to touch any mountain or valley. His arrival is the beginning of the good news. God has come to save. To comfort Jerusalem. To redeem his people.
But those baby feet would grow. They would walk the walk of a perfect life, treading where we cannot, though we stumble every day. The thong of his sandal John isn't worthy to untie. But still he walks into the river to be baptized for us. His feet carry him to the wilderness for us. He would go up to Jerusalem for us. His feet would be anointed with a woman's tears and perfume for burial. And those feet would be nailed to a cross for us. But they would also walk him out of the grave for us. And they would ascend in glory for us.
Yes, the serpent bruised his heel, but that same foot would crush the head of our old foe, destroying him and his power over us forever. The warfare is over. Jesus' feet bring peace. They are beautiful feet, indeed.
All I want for Christmas are the beautiful feet of him who brings good news. And that's just what I get, and so do you. All I want is the Gospel, the message of salvation in Jesus Christ, and that is enough. All the presents under the tree will pass away. Moth and rust will do their work. But the word of God stands forever, the promise of Christ stands forever, and we, with our humble but faithful feet, can always stand on that sure rock, forever.
Today we hear that word. Today, and each time we gather in his house, we hear the good news of great joy. We hear it from humble servants whose feet aren't anything special but the message they bring is so sweet. And whether it's the beautiful feet of pastors, teachers, parents or friend, God provides feet to keep his message coming. He sends the messengers to keep bringing that message of salvation in Jesus Christ our Lord. And no matter how gnarly and dirty and smelly the feet, the feet that bring Christ are beautiful feet indeed.
Our baptism washes us, and not just our filthy feet, but our head and hands, also. And the Lord's Supper feeds us – body and soul – giving strength to believe and live as Christ has promised. Forgiven and freed, we follow his example, and wash feet – serve our neighbor – love one another.
So maybe socks aren't so bad. Maybe feet aren't so everyday. For feet that bring good news like this are beautiful feet. This doesn't happen everyday. Christ is born for us. His work on earth began that day in Bethlehem, and would lead to Calvary and cross. But it is finished. Christ is risen. He has done all things well. So lift up your voices in the victory song, for our God reigns, and gives us all good things. Amen.