Summary: “Surely your salvation is coming; behold His reward is with Him, and His work before Him. And they shall call them the Holy People, the redeemed of the Lord.”Isaiah 62:11-12
Theme: Look, your Saviour comes
Text: Is. 62:11-12; Tit. 3:4-7; Lk. 2:15-20
Christmas is a time for giving and celebration and a time to remember God’s great gift to us. A time for giving presents and it is also a time of thanksgiving; thanksgiving to God for His many gifts, for answered prayers, for healing, for new friendships and above all for His indescribable gift, Jesus Christ, a gift too wonderful for words. This gift meant that the Son of God left His throne in glory to come to earth as a man. Everyone moves during his or her life. Some people move when they get married and others move because of their jobs. But most frequently people move when they build their dream houses or when they find better houses even if it is in the same neighbourhood. Sometimes we also move because we can no longer afford the cost and need a cheaper place. Unfortunately there are people today without homes. We pass by them everyday and it has become such a common sight that we are no longer concerned about their plight. Would you give up your home to live under the conditions these people live under just to help them? This was what God did. The Word was made flesh, God’s messenger in person.
The Word was made flesh because man needed a Saviour. When God created man He never intended for man to sin, but gave man a free will to chose his own course. God put man in a perfect environment called the Garden of Eden and gave him only one commandment to obey - not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Adam, the father of us all, chose to disobey that one small commandment and through Eve, he rebelled and sinned against God. By choosing to depend on themselves they became separated from God. They, not God, caused the conflict with their Creator. Their sin not only affected themselves, but it affected the world and even the whole Universe. Yet God promised salvation and deliverance and the possibility of the restoration of true peace. God in the moment of man’s failure, promised a Saviour. He promised one who would undo the sin effects of sin and restore peace with God.
Christ came for everyone. How amazed the angels must have been when they saw the Creator born as a creature, the Word coming as a speechless baby, completely dependent on others so that man could be reconciled to God? As the Lamb of God He was born in a stable and the first ones to hear the news were shepherds in the field. Perhaps these shepherds were caring for the flocks that would provide the sacrifices for the temple services and it was their duty to inspect the sacrificial lambs and make sure they were without blemish. The Lamb of God was without blemish, the perfect sacrifice for the salvation of the world. Our reconciliation with God is the basis of our peace. The Jewish word for peace, shalom, means wellbeing, health, prosperity, security, soundness and completeness and deals more with character than circumstances. Life was difficult at that time just as it is today. Taxes were high, unemployment was high, morals were slipping lower, and the military state was in control. Roman law, Greek philosophy and even Jewish religion could not meet the needs of men’s hearts. So God sent His Son, the only one who could meet that need. Jesus gave up eternity to come to a hostile earth so that we could be reconciled to God and experience peace. As we celebrate Christmas have we invited Christ into our hearts or are we behaving like the innkeeper who had no room for Him in the inn? Today is a day of great joy. Let us welcome Jesus Christ, our Saviour, into our hearts.
When God gave us His greatest gift, the news did not even make the headlines. Rather it was the news that Augustus Caesar had ordered a census and everyone had to return to their hometown. But who would have thought that Augustus Caesar was merely God’s errand boy being used to fulfil OT prophecy. Although everything was focused on Caesar and Rome, and no one noticed Joseph and Mary travelling from Nazareth to Bethlehem, nor noticed the first cries of the newborn child, Jesus Christ, the most important news event was what had taken place in Bethlehem. They failed to notice the birth of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Within Jesus’ fragile frame, undiminished deity and true humanity existed together as God’s supreme gift of grace to man, a gift too wonderful for words. Just as the news of the birth of Jesus Christ did not make the headlines in those days so the birthday of Christ and the significance of the good news that was proclaimed by the angel does not make the headlines today. Rather it is the news of the parties that are being held the sales that are being made the clothes that are being worn and the places that are being patronised. All eyes may be focused on new clothes, food and drink, but the most significant event today is the birth of Christ. Great care was taken so that when the Word was made flesh He would be recognised and prophecies concerning Him were fulfilled to the smallest detail. The only ones who took any notice were the angels who announced His birth and some shepherds and wise men.