Friday, December 26, 2014

The Light of the Gospel

Friday, December 26, 2014
And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born.  She gave birth to her first child, a son.  She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them.  That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep.  Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them.  They were terrified, but the angel reassured them.  “Don’t be afraid!” he said.  “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people.  The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!  And you will recognize him by this sign:  You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”  Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying, “Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”  When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem!  Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”  They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph.  And there was the baby, lying in the manger.  After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child.  All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished, but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often.  The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen.  It was just as the angel had told them.  Luke 2:6-20 (NLT)
The Gospel story – simple enough for a preschooler; yet the word “profound” hardly keeps up with all the implications for our personal lives and the fate of the universe.

We read the Gospel, hear it preached, see it in Christmas and Easter plays, how the angels delivered their carol, of a babe in a cradle; he would grow up for the cross, win the crown, and is coming again.

It is a marvelous story we want to hear over and again.  We echo the songwriter’s thought, I love to tell the story, for those who know it best, seem hungering and thirsting to hear it like the rest.[1]  The story is so marvelous that we never get tired of hearing and thinking about it!

The story is full of joy, wonder and light as the angels descend on the Judean hillside to make the announcement to humble shepherds.  Sometimes you get a little glimpse of that Judean hillside experience:

The day before Thanksgiving this year we had some electrical work done at the house.  The technician arrived late and had to work in the dark on the side of our house where the outside bulb had expired.  He didn’t have a flashlight, so I shined my little, dim flashlight for him.  Suddenly the whole area was lit up like daylight.  Shannon, our son-in-law had come up behind me with his “Stinger”, a police/military-grade flashlight. 

Whoa!  You cannot hide when that baby’s on!  I’ve got to confess – I now have one of those; Merry Christmas to me!

But, even the brightest spotlight cannot compare with all the heavenly hosts come down, straight from the throne of God to announce the greatest news for man since the dawn of our sins – A Savior is born!  The big fisherman Peter would later call it joy unspeakable, and full of glory![2]

For you, today

Our prayer is that you truly were able to experience amongst the hurried schedules and activities of the Advent and Christmas season, the inexpressible joy and glory of Christ’s presence.

By the way…it’s not too late; take time right now to bow in his presence and thank him for loving you and saving you.  See if the light doesn’t come on!

[1] Words, Katherine Hankey, Tune HANKY, William G. Fischer, 1869, The Baptist Hymnal, (Nashville, Convention Press), 1975.
[2] 1 Peter 1.8

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