Summary: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” Luke 2:14.
Text: Is. 9:1-7; Titus 2:11-14; Luke. 2:1-14
Christmas day is a time to focus on the birth of Christ and the love and generosity of God as we exchange gifts with joy and thanksgiving. If the angels could rejoice singing “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom His favour rests” how about us? We who are the favoured ones and recipients of God’s indescribable gift. It is an indescribable gift, that is beyond description, and it embraces and meets every human need. It is a gift that not only reconciles us to the Father but also delivers us from evil and fills us with love, joy and peace. For Jesus Christ to be our Saviour meant that He had to leave His heavenly home – His throne in glory – and come to earth as a man. God was ready to do for us what we are not ready to do for our fellow human beings. Which one of us would be ready to give up the comfort of our homes to live on the streets just to be able to help the many street children among us? Or which one of us would be prepared to give up the comfort of their homes for a life in prison to help the prisoner? This was what God did. God left His home and came to live among us. He took on flesh and became one of us to save us and restore our peace.
We all need a Saviour “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”. (Romans 3:23) When Adam sinned all men were contaminated with sin for “just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned”. (Rom. 5:12) Since all have sinned no man qualified to pay the penalty for sin. Sin prevented man from exercising the power and authority on earth that God had given him. We needed a man to excercise power and authority on earth and this man had to be without the sin nature and without sin. Only God Himself could meet His own requirements and to do so He had to become a man. Jesus became a man and was tempted “in every respect as we are, yet without sin”. (Heb. 4:15) This was only posssible because Christ depended totally on God. The Psalmist writes about Him in Ps. 40:8 “I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart.” When Adam and Eve choose not to do the will of God but to depend on themselves they rejected the sovereignty and authority of God. This rejection led to their separation from God, their source of life.
Their sin affected man, the world and the whole Universe. God, however, promised salvation, deliverance and the restoration of joy and peace. He promised a Saviour who would undo the effects of sin and restore peace. On Christmas day two thousand years ago a child was born and a Son was given who took over the government on earth whose name is Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace. 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 lowly shepherds in the field. The Lamb of God, born of the Virgin Mary, was without blemish, the perfect sacrifice for the salvation of the world and our reconciliation with God. Through Him we have peace and the Jewish word for peace, shalom, means well-being, health, prosperity, security, soundness and completeness. Shalom was what the people needed as life was difficult at that time just as it is today. Taxes and unemployment were high, morals were deteriorating and they were under foreign occupation. 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 been reconciled to God? Have we trusted Christ with our lives and are we enjoying peace? Today is a day of great joy and celebration. Let us be part of it as we put our trust in Jesus Christ as our Saviour and Lord.
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 prophecy about the birth of Christ. was focused on Caesar and Rome, and no one noticed Joseph and Mary travelling from Nazareth to Bethlehem, the most important news event that night was the fulfillment of the prophecy concerning the birth of Christ in Mic. 5:2 “But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days”. Although no one apart from the parents noticed the first cries of the newborn child, Jesus Christ, the most important news event of the day was what had taken place in Bethlehem. The world failed to notice the birth of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. 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 angels 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.