Scripture: Luke 2: 8-20
In our culture today what does this time of year mean? To some it means that their business may end the year with a little money in the bank. To others it means that they hope they will get what they want for Christmas from Santa. What about in countries which are less fortunate than we are?
What about the children in Korea with their eyes so big and bright, what does this time of year mean to them? In North Korea, they may be looking for food and hoping they will have a meal tonight. In South Korea, where there are some churches and a fairly robust economy, they may be celebrating Jesus’ birth just like we do.
I wonder also about those who live in Africa. In places like Zimbabwe where the annual income may be fifty dollars, where people live in huts and never see shopping malls or a Christmas tree, what do they think of this time of year that is celebrated in most countries?
How about the Muslim countries, where Christmas is not celebrated at all?
I am sure it means different things to different people depending on their culture and their beliefs.
Do we forget about Jesus at this time of year? I have heard of people who set an extra place at the table for Him because it is His birthday that we celebrate. It isn’t our birthday but it is the Lord’s birthday and this is a time to remember Him and why He came.
Luke 2: 8-20
8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen which were just as they had been told.
The announcement that went out to the earth about God’s Son being born went to the shepherds, not the temple, not the high priest. Why do you think God went to the outcasts of society to announce the birth of His Son? I think it is because they would receive the news with humble hearts and with willing spirits. They were chosen by God and told the news by a multitude of angels, they had to feel honored even if society said they didn’t deserve honor.
Shepherds were considered unclean and not allowed to participate in any worship service, even though they took care of the animals which were used as sacrifices.
What about today? How do we receive the news of Jesus and His sacrifice for us? Do we humbly bow and thank Him and ask Him to come into our lives and be near to us every day? I am sure that is what He wants of us but not just on holidays or at certain times of the year, or when things are going bad. Jesus wants us to be near to Him as He is with us every day and in all things, great and small in our lives.
Doesn’t He deserve our respect and praise? For all the things that God has done for us through Jesus and through His work on the cross the least that we owe Him is our life in service to Him. Is there any higher calling than to be called a “child of God”? I don’t think so and I don’t believe any of you think that either.
So, what are we to do when we realize who we are in relation to Him? Do we become missionaries? Yes, in a manner of speaking we are supposed to be just that, because Jesus told us to be the light of the world and to take the gospel to all people. We can do that every day while we are working, or at a restaurant or a ball game. We do it by our life and our witness to others and when His Spirit is working through you they will see it and recognize it.
Getting back to the shepherds and what they saw and did; they saw the glory of the Lord shining from those angels who were proclaiming that the Messiah had been born in Bethlehem. In the darkness of the Judean hills the light must have been breathtaking, like spot-lights shining all around them. Today with the technology that we have lights in the sky wouldn’t be a big deal, but these were angels and they were SINGING and there were no lights at that time except for a fire or a candle so the glory coming from them would’ve been much brighter than they were used to.
Can you imagine how those shepherds felt? “What is this from God? Why is He telling us this?” They might have been thinking those things but they listened to the message and obeyed. They went to Bethlehem and found the Christ child and worshiped Him.
This is all that we are called to do in our lives but we are to do more than just worship. We are called to be ministers and teachers about our faith and why we have the faith that we have. We are to be the voice of Jesus and his hands and feet in a world that is rejecting Him now and in the future, until we are taken to be with Him.
Our Savior was born in the most humble of circumstances and His birth was announced not to kings or priests but the shepherds. He was a King at birth and still is today and yet people don’t acknowledge His kingship over their lives even if they are Christians. The crown that He wore on earth was one of pain and made from thorns, the one that He wears now is gold and is given to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the Mighty Counselor, the Prince of Peace.
He is our Savior and the reason for the season and we need to humble ourselves and pray and seek Him every day. Make it a habit to do this and you will be better for it and you will be more like Him in your walk with Him.