And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."
What does love look like?
The image of a humble child, in a makeshift cradle, born to impoverished parents.
God become man for the sake of the fallen and broken.
Whenever I read this passage, especially at this time of year, I find myself more aware every year of exactly what this holiday truly represents. It is not about what kind of presents I give or receive, whether I was able to get free shipping from Amazon on my purchases in time for delivery by December 23 or if I finally figure out how to get the timer for the Christmas lights to work correctly. It isn't even about me, it is about God.
Having seen the brokenness of his children, despite our rebellion, sin and seeking ourselves rather than Him, he came to us. I can't even get my head around that concept at times. I try to compare it to times when others have wronged me. Having been injured, could I come to that person and initiate the process of healing, forgiveness and restoration? But that is what God has done only on a cosmic level. He initiated the healing of the world, regardless of our transgressions. He came to us. Glory to God in the highest for he is able to do what no person could do.
Not only has he come, but he came in the most humble of circumstances, modeling the humility and generousity that should be the hallmarks of his people. Is that the kind of person I am? Hardly, though I pray to become that kind of man. What must it have been like to give up all that, to walk this earth, in this skin? I was talking about this very thing with my oldest boy last night and we were both amazed at the thought. I told him Jesus coming here and giving up everything would be kind of like us agreeing to give up our nice, warm, safe house and live in a cardboard box on Skid Row just so some homeless people we've never met could live in our house. We both just stared at each other in wonder.
And he came for me and you, all of us. He came that I might be rescued from the self destructive life and spirit that I had created for myself. He came that I might know the sweetness of his grace in more ways than I can count. He came that I might know what a real family is like. But that is not all. He lay in a manger, not just so I could be safe in the knowledge of my own salvation. He came so that I, we, would be agents of his kingdom. That we would bring the kingdom of God to those who can not see it for themselves. Not that we would preach with brimstone and condemnation, but that we would reach the hungry with bread, the sick with medicine and oppressed with justice. Though he is interested me, he is equally interested in what he can do through me, for the sake of his kingdom and the saving of all who would believe.
This means my family is not mine, but his. My job, not mine, but his. That he may use my station in life to save a girl from cutting herself, or show to inner city young men on a daily basis that a man can be civilized without appearing weak and that the only thing truly free in life is grace. Those are the gifts I can give. I can give myself, all that I have to his kingdom. Just a s he did.
Pray that I would.
Merry Christmas friends.