And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them.”
What is the perfect Christmas for you? Often in our planning and preparations we are tempted to think that Christmas be almost magical. Then when the tree lights fail, people you invite over cancel, the flu hits your house, bonuses are cancelled, extended family gatherings are a train wreck, and the kids act like little antichrists - it is a big letdown. Then you have returns, clean up and undecorating, and then the credit card bills come.
No Way Out
The first advent came after about 400 years of silence. No prophets. No revelations. No signs. Circumstances were not good for God’s people. They had a promise that God would rescue them with a Christ. They were guilty of worshipping idols and false gods. They were oppressed by the Romans who were occupying their land. They longed for things to be fixed and to be set free. The brokenness of life was beyond their ability to fix it.
The brokenness of our world today is inescapable. It goes beyond our broken lives. We see and read atrocity upon atrocity. Whether it’s acts of terror or nations warring or genocide or injustice or senseless acts of murder, or our own relational, physical, and spiritual brokenness, we are bombarded with this reality: Things are not as they should be.
Despite all of our knowledge, science, and technology, the brokenness of our lives is beyond our ability to fix it. We are as desperately in need of a savior today as the people were 2,000 years ago. We are as helpless now as they were in the ancient world.
God Made a Way
Good news of great joy is announced in verse 11. A Savior has been given to us! God is rescuing us! The incarnation is clear:
On a day — in real history.
In a city — in a real world.
The Savior — to take away all our guilt.
The Christ — to fulfill all our hopes.
The Lord — to defeat all our enemies, and make us safe and satisfied for ever.
The incarnation brings glory to God and peace to us (verse 14). The coming of this child will be the greatest revelation of the glory of God even among the heights of heaven, and the coming of this child will bring peace to God’s people — who will one day fill the whole earth with righteousness and peace.
“Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end” (Isaiah 9:7).
When He created the world, or when he came to reclaim the world in Jesus Christ, His purposes are His glory and our peace. His greatness, our joy. His beauty, our pleasure. The point of creation and redemption is that God is glorious and will be known and praised for His glory by a peace-filled new humanity
Walk In His Ways
Peace with God is found by looking to Jesus - the only One who can fix brokenness (Romans 5:1). He can give you new life. He can satisfy your hunger and thirst for fulfillment. Jesus is the only One who can give you peace. Verse 15 gives us great language, “Let us go over...and see...this thing...which the Lord made known to us”.
What aspect or element of the Christmas holiday brings you the most peace, joy or contentment?
What aspect or element of the Christmas holiday robs you of those things?
How can you reorient or change your celebration of the Christmas holiday so that God would be glorified and you would know true peace?