Summary: A simple Christmas Eve message
December 22, 2013 Luke 2:9-12
9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
Fear Not! Behold! A Savior - The Savior
I. Fear is a rare thing
When Adam and Eve ate from the Tree of Knowledge God chased them from the Garden and placed an angel at the entryway with a flaming sword to keep them away from the Tree of LIfe; one mere look at the angel would be enough to scare them away. Tonight, instead of placing an angel to keep us from Paradise, God puts an angel in the sky to point the shepherds and us to Paradise.
It was probably very quiet and calm that night. The shepherds were used to the darkness. They probably didn’t spook too easily. They lived in it every night. They made a living in the darkness, you could say. But it was this backdrop of darkness that would have terrified them all the more. Remember that angels are chubby little babies. They are powerful warriors; God’s warriors who fight His battles. The bright and powerful glory of the Lord also shone all around them. The shepherds weren’t just afraid. They were sore afraid. They were so afraid it hurt. I don’t know if you’ve ever been that afraid. I can recall a few times in my life being so afraid I was afraid to move at all; hence the term being “scared stiff.”
The whole backdrop of this story is good for us to think about today. We live in a world of people that have become quite accustomed to living in the darkness. In some ways we’ve built a rather comfortable house down here under the curse. We have hot tubs and heaters; hot water and adjustable beds. We have automatic weapons and 911 to use in times of emergency. We also have a wide variety of foods and a thousand spices to cook it. We’ve come to really enjoy the darkness.
Spiritually, we’ve been coddled into thinking there is no sin. The only real sin we can commit in our society is to tell someone they are a sinner. Even those who still have some concept of God; even with some remnant of Christianity; they’ve been duped into thinking that a loving God would never really get angry about anything. Holiness is meant to be a fluffy pillow to sleep on; that is all. The last thing anyone wants is for something to come barging into their world and disrupt their pleasure.
I think about the reaction of the men on Jonah’s boat. A storm had come up and they were terrified of throwing Jonah overboard. They didn’t want God to judge them and condemn them. I think too about how Nebuchadnezzar had ignored God’s warnings and lived as if he were god. God made him crazy, and it scared and humiliated Nebuchadnezzar to realize how weak he really was. He then had a fear of God that he never had before. He said,