Pastor Brian Gilroy,
High Prairie Church of the Nazarene
“And the angel said unto them, fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” [Luke 2:10-11]
Amidst the pageantry; the decorations; the gift exchange and feasts – lies a simple truth. Christmas is all about the love of God for you and me. The star that the Magi followed for over two years, that led them to the child Jesus, represented hope. The birth of a special king!
Yet it was not until they came face-to-face with Jesus that they realized that this was no ordinary royal baby. It was the Son of God, the Messiah.
The angels that the shepherds, who were watching their flocks by night, encountered not only scared the shepherds but got their full attention. If I were in the fields of Big Lakes County and a large group of angels suddenly appeared; I would probably fall off my tractor if I were driving one. A sight that bright that would turn the darkness into noonday light would scare me silly.
Yet God, in His wisdom and love, sent the angels to tell the good news to those who society would call the “outcasts”. These poor shepherds were given the greatest news ever heard in history except for the news on Resurrection Sunday “He is Risen”.
These shepherds followed the instructions of the angels and were the first non-family members to greet the Lord. They did not find a mighty king in full battle gear ready to lead a revolt against all the oppressors. They found a humble couple with a newborn baby. A baby lain in a cattle feeding trough. No crib, no toys, no fancy baby shower gifts. A baby wrapped in cloths in a feeding trough in a stable for there was no room in the inn.
When the Magi stopped following the star and went into Jerusalem to the Royal Palace, the proud and mighty king had a different reaction to the news. He called to the Jewish scholars and was told where the Messiah would be born yet not one of the Royal Court went to see if the prophecy was true. The king did not want to waste his time.
When the Magi did not return, he realized that the prophecy had come true and feared for his status. Would this newborn king replace him? Instead of seeking out the Messiah, Jesus Christ, to worship him like the shepherds or the Magi, the king sent assassins out to attempt to kill him.
This baby, whom the shepherds saw was in fact the Creator, Sustainer and Future Saviour of the world.
Quite often, rich, and powerful people will often disguise themselves to see how their employees act when they believe the boss is not watching. How many remember a show called “Undercover Boss” – a show in Canada, the US and Britain where a CEO would disguise themselves and go to work at one of their outlets?
How many have ever seen a YouTube video of a wealthy person posing as a street person looking for a person of compassion to hire?
Have you ever entered an expensive store ready to make a purchase but were overlooked because you did not dress like you could afford what they were selling?
God did come and people did not recognize Him. Why? Why would He come down to Earth instead of wiping it out and beginning all over again?
Well, Jesus came down to love the fear out of you! In fact, he was born to die that you might live.
We celebrate the birth of Jesus as it is the beginning of the road to the Cross of Calvary. The Bible tells us that the love of God casts out fear for fear has to do with judgment and the Law of God. The sins we do each day is like racking up credit card bills that we will never be able to pay off. A day of reckoning comes, and we are called to account by God to pay the price for these acts of rebellion against God and we have nothing to give in payment for what we owe.
However, because of Christmas or the coming of Jesus Christ into this world as a baby – Jesus grew up and died on the cross paying the balance that you and I owe.
Christmas is not about tinsel; caroling; family get-togethers; Hallmark Christmas stories or gift exchanges. Christmas is about the gift of God to everyone who wants to accept God’s gift. God’s gift of salvation – forgiveness and hope – helps us to experience the elusive peace that each of us needs in times like these.
Peace on earth is great but eternal peace is better. Have a “Christ-filled” Christmas this year!