Summary: On the eve of Christmas, we will take a closer look at what it means when the prophecy, purity and promise have been fulfilled. We will see that God’s designed and desired response for us is one of propagation (widely telling and sharing of all that has
Heavenly Messages of Christmas #4:
“The Wonderful Gift of PROPAGATION”
When something new or exciting happens, what do you do? When something unbelievable has just occurred, how do you react? What if your favorite team wins the Super Bowl? What if the love of your life just agreed to marry you? You just had a child?
What do you do when you learn something really important and aren’t sure if everybody else knows? 9/11? Friend just won a gold medal (’90 Summer, Barcelona, Nelson Diebol)? Everybody in the company is getting a HUGE Christmas bonus this year? What if you get the PERFECT gift for Christmas – just what you’ve always wanted but never thought you’d ever actually get?
You’d shout for joy and quickly tell everybody you could (perhaps even total strangers), wouldn’t you? When we see/hear/receive something wonderful it is only natural to desire to propagate (broadly proclaim) the news to all around! At least, unless it was something we were determined to hoard and keep only for ourself and our own benefit . . .
For the past 3 weeks, we have been learning from the Angelic announcements surrounding the first Christmas. We have benefited and learned from the message of Prophecy to Joseph, Purity to Zacharias and Promise to Mary. This morning, on the eve of Christmas, we will take a closer look at what it means when the prophecy, purity and promise have been fulfilled. We will see that God’s designed and desired response for us is one of propagation (widely telling and sharing of all that has occurred). We will see this first in the response of the Angelic host, and then of even the simplest of men.
Try to imagine the scene, if you will. In a dark, dank, smelly cave a baby has just been born. And not just any baby, but Immanuel, God With Us, God Incarnate, born in the flesh to be the Savior of the World and reconcile all creation to Himself!!! Yet, of the thousands of people in the surrounding area and millions of people throughout the earth, only two were even mildly aware of what had just happened. Everybody else was completely oblivious. Ah, but there was a grand audience nevertheless. The angelic hosts of heaven were rejoicing like never before. Surely, they felt too excited to keep the news to themselves. They must have been dying to tell someone, especially those blind and clueless humans! Shortly, God the Father sent a group to proclaim the news on earth – but only to a particular, small group of people; themselves isolated from others.
Now, if it was up to you to determine what few people should receive this incredible news straight from God’s special messengers, and you didn’t already know the outcome, I can’t imagine many if any of us would have guessed it would be shepherds. Especially not if we understood what it meant to be a shepherd in 1st C. Israel. They were hired hands who had no place or respect in society. Unskilled, uneducated, unconnected and poor laborers. They were loners and vagabonds who, by nature of their role in life, generally had little contact with others outside their own kind. Their jobs were also their lives – 24/7. Inevitably, they were as dirty and smelly as the sheep they cared for. They were even rejected and looked down upon by the religious society. And, because their work prevented them from following all of the ritual washings, they were barred from entering the Temple. While I’m sure there were exceptions, shepherds also had the reputation as being foul-mouthed, mischievous thugs and cretins.
Yet, God chose them!!! Why? We don’t know for sure. Perhaps because their humble position and simple lives uniquely equipped them to accept rather than question God’s message that was unexpected and unfathomable. Or, to demonstrate at the beginning that His coming is Grace for all peoples, even in our sin. Perhaps, because they would be most likely to share with others without making it about themselves – drawing attention to themselves as messengers over and above the message itself. Or, perhaps, as some speculate, they were the shepherds who watched over the sacrificial sheep that the temple authorities kept on the hillside just outside the city for the daily sacrifices.
In any case, we see again how God chooses the unlikely, the unexpected, the simple, the ordinary and the undeserving to be His servants and receive His special blessings on this earth!
Please join with me now in more closely examining the significance of this event, not only for its time, but for each of us – no matter how simple or ordinary – today. We will look at each of the three scenes - on the hillside with the angels, in the stable with the Christ Child, and in the community with others– and what we can learn from each.