Meditation

Sermon for Christmas Day 1

The Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ According to Luke 2:1-14 (15-20), for December 26, 2020

In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was Governor of Syria. All went to their own towns to be registered. Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea. to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in hands of cloth, and lain him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—-I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them. This is the Gospel of our Lord.

Have you ever read scripture and seen something that made you wonder, “Why was this detail important?” Well, I sure have. How about the detail, that the angel told the shepherds, “you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.” Certainly this was a description of what they would see, but it is also the first of two uses in those days that bands of cloth were used to wrap up a baby and the second being to wrap up the body of one who had died prior to burial. Accidental? I don’t think so.

Jesus’ birth came in the ongoing stream of history. God worked through unbelieving rulers and their political purposes to provide the unrepeatable gift of salvation in Christ and these two caring parents had prepared for the birth of their child and so much more. The glory of God was a visible, concentrated manifestation of the very nature or person of God. Often the glory of God is associated with “shining.” The emphasis being not on “the shining” or how the manifestation occurs; rather it is on the sense of awe that it produces in those who perceive it. When people “see” the glory of God, they have a heightened, acute awareness of the presence and power, the majesty and authority of the holy God.

The term, “Savior,” applied to Jesus is an extension of the Old Testament idea of God saving and delivering His people.. Salvation applies to all areas of life- physical, psychological, and spiritual. The verb “save” is often used in connection with Jesus’ acts on behalf of humankind. God is acknowledged as Savior often in the New Testament. To call Jesus Savior is to relate Him to God. Jesus is called Savior only here in the Synoptic Gospels (Once in John 4:42; Once in1st John 4:14; Twice in Acts 5:31 and 13:23). The other references are found in Pauline works and 2nd Peter. As Savior, Jesus is the Christ or Messiah (Note Matthew 1:18-25).

There are also two terms that invariably used together, angels and praise. They can be used in individually or in groups and these two terms, “angels”praise God and thus encourage people to join their song, or as described with the encounter of the shepherds., people with no social standing in the worlds eyes. While the appearance of angels describe them praising God, the praise here contains a benediction for God’s people. Prayer is a heavenly occupation as well as an earthly one.

The grace of God beloved is active and outgoing. God is not a detached God, uninvolved with what is going on here on earth. Verse 14 expresses, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom His favor rests.” Even then, His grace was active in the developing life of His Son, whom the Father had sent into the world to be the Redeemer of lost people. Grace is not merely a detached sentiment, but an active quality, expressed in positive, redemptive, creative ways as God pursues His own purposes, because God is gracious at the core of His being, He sent the So to save us as the expression of His Father.

The angels welcomed Christ’s birth with praise to God and a blessing calling for peace to all those committed to God’s grace. Peace will never result from good human intentions. God inaugurated peace by sending Jesus to Mary in Bethlehem. Only persons dedicated to praising Him can be instruments of peace, for He is the only source of peace. As we are Christians, we are to proclaim Him to all we see, as our witness is the connection between God and others that need to know Him too!

And think, this story began with an encounter of an angel and Mary, then Joseph, and slowly the Magi came seeking the Messiah, the angels then came to the shepherds, and that, as we like to say, was the beginnings of a world wide group of people who claim Christ Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Just imagine, the opportunity to share the message of salvation with everyone we come into contact with. We serve an awesome God, and He loves all of us, and is depending on us, to share Him with the rest of the world, because His love has no limitations. Amen

3 thoughts on “Meditation

  1. Great message brother!

    Chris Pearson

    Germer Beaman & Brown
    1 Barton Skyway
    1501 S. Mopac Expy. Suite A400
    Austin, Texas. 78746

    To reach me, reply to this, or —
    512-750-2823 (cell – best bet)
    512-482-3567 (direct dial – office)
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