Summary: Birth announcements can engage us. In Luke 2:11, God speaks through an angel to offer hope at Christmas. And Christmas is really all about Easter, that God loves us enough to offer salvation through his son Jesus.
Christmas Music 3: The Angels’ Song
Luke 2:8-14 December 23, 2018
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People have a lot of fun with birth announcements. I remember many years ago calling my wife's parents in Italy and telling them they had a little grandson. What joy! Now people even have gender reveals at showers. Some good friends of ours were expecting their first baby. They didn’t know the gender, but her sister knew. The soon-to-be dad was a car enthusiast, so he parked his Vintage Mustang ’77 next door to the party. Then everyone gathered outside. The brother-in-law got ready to start it up. And the sister, who knew the gender, announced to the crowd that the color of the exhaust would announce to everyone, including the soon-to-be parents: pink for a girl or blue for a boy. And out came the pink exhaust! How exciting! Modern technology, huh?
Some 2,000 years ago, an angel showed up to a bunch of shepherds in the fields around Bethlehem, and that angel gave a birth announcement, followed by a song from an amazingly large gathering of angels. The announcement itself is in verse 11. Let me read it to you again (“I’m actually going to use the King James Version, which is rare for me, but I love the sound of it there), and then we’ll unpack it: “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.” Let’s think about each of the phrases in this most impactful of all birth announcements. First, consider the phrase...
1. For unto you – This is personal
Wow! When you think about it this way, the Christmas message becomes very personal. A Savior was born...to you, to me. Now you say, “Pastor, those words were spoken to the shepherds. The angel was talking to them.” And you’re right. But think about a shepherd. He was not among the cream of the crop in society. He had an important role, but he wasn’t respected, kind of like our trash collectors. We rely on them but don’t respect them much. Remember when Samuel came to anoint the next king of Israel, and David’s father forgot about him, because he was out taking care of the sheep? Overlooked. Unimportant. Inconsequential. And yet, somehow important to God. The shepherds mattered to God. You matter to God! Consider that most famous of verses in the Bible, John 3:16. It starts off, “For God so loved the world...” He’s not talking about the globe there; he’s talking about the people on the globe. Insert your name: “For God so loved...Kerry.” Let’s try it together: we’re all going to say, “For God so loved,” and then we’re each going to say our own name. Ready? (Do it.) Christmas is very personal. It’s about God’s love to you!
“For unto you...”
2. Is born – He is one of us
The wording here is an echo of the ancient prophecy of Isaiah 9:6, “For unto us a Child is born...” Our Savior was born as a human into the miserable mass of humanity on the globe. God became man. Jesus stepped out of the glories of heaven to live among us: Emmanuel, God with us. Jesus was born into a poor family, with a feeding trough as a cradle. Pretty common, for common folks like you and me. Pastor James Howell writes, “It’s the Incarnation. God became flesh; God came down; God is as close as my own heartbeat and the breath I just took. God understands us, and redeems us from the inside out. This is why God’s revealing of God’s heart and mind came through an infant — something we all once were, something that elicits tenderness from even the hardest among us.”
“For unto you is born ...
3. This day – Right when I need him
The angel told the shepherds, “This happened today. The birth just took place.” And in some sense, the birth of Jesus is a timeless event. What I mean is, when history was at its darkness, back during the evil Roman Empire, hope was born into the world. And now, whenever we cry out to God, hope is born into our hearts. Christ is ready to be born in our lives today, not yesterday, not tomorrow, but right now. “Today is the day of salvation!” (2 Corinthians 6:2). Don’t procrastinate. Let Jesus come into your life today.
“For unto you is born this day ...
4. In the city of David – Promise kept
This phrase ties in a very important prophecy, that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem, the hometown of King David. Micah 5:2 reads, “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.” Jesus did not replace the Old Testament; he fulfilled it. That’s why 2 Corinthians 1:20 says, “For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ.” This little prophecy, that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem, reminds us that God always keeps his word.