Luke Chapter 2, verses 8-18:
Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. “For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. “And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, 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, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
“Do not be afraid.”
The birth of Jesus (the incarnation) answers all human fear. Why? Because it says that God has already begun to enact the solution to all the things that scare us. At the bottom of every human fear is the fear that we’ll be ruined and destroyed forever—that pain and darkness and loneliness and futility will never end. But fear not—the man who will end all those things, forever, has been born. The birth of Jesus guarantees that no matter what you’re facing now, that hard situation is meant to be temporary.
“For behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.”
The announcement that we don’t need to be afraid comes with the announcement of the best possible news. It’s the kind of news that, if you hear it and understand what it means, it fixes you on the inside—you find something called joy welling up in your heart—the happy, life-filled exuberance that floods away fear and pain and says, “It’s all going to be ok. In fact, it’s all going to be awesome.” And the announcement is that this joy is meant for everyone. No culture, no country, no ethnic group is left out—all our culture’s obsession with division and oppression is answered in one stroke. If anyone denies that this message transcends boundaries, heals old wounds, ends oppression, and sweeps away the logic of intersectionality, well, the angels say they’re wrong. Jesus Christ is Lord of all, and no one can keep his joy out.
“For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”
Jesus is a savior. He Knows how to rescue us all, out of everything. He can sort out the mess. He can sort out our mess. And he can keep us alive and well in the process. He comes from the ancient line of kings—he is the promised son of David, the messiah, and the king of everyone and everything. When he is born, it is time to start telling the world that he’s arrived. This changes everything. The angels know it. And now the shepherds do too.
“And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”
Here is the Christmas part of the whole thing. God shocked us all with this way of doing it. It’s so big and crazy and awesome that we go nuts once a year for like a whole month—we decorate our houses and set up indoor pine trees and string lights and sing songs and give gifts and make everything look way better than it usually does—all because God shocked us with how generous, and big-hearted, and courageous, and close to us he was willing to be. God the baby, looking up at us out of little human eyes. All the global pessimists, worry-mongers and dooms-dayers should think about that. One baby ruins all your predictions.
“And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: ‘Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!’”
Peace hasn’t grown up and taken over the world yet. But it was born. The King of Peace was born, he grew up, and he’s already done the hardest part of his work. When he became a man he lifted up the burden of all human evil, and he carried it to the cross, where they killed him, and he died under the weight of every one of our sins, and then rose again from the dead. And that means that the good news is now even bigger than the news that he was born. It’s the news that he also died and rose again, and that anyone who believes that he’s the king and savior, and repents of their sins, will be fully forgiven of their sins, and will have Jesus Christ’s guarantee that they will be rescued from the wrath of God when God decides to end the history of human evil, and push it into the background forever, and bring to the foreground the new history of divine blessing and human good that he began that night in Bethlehem. The kingdom of God is already 2000 years in the making, and when it arrives in full, it will complete the awesome thing that happened on this night.
On that night…
- He came into …our sickness. …our political upheaval …our incompetent society …our ignorance and bigotry …opposition to God’s work.
- He was not afraid …to be a baby …to live under a repressive government …to face misunderstanding …to contend with people who loved sin.
- He was not defeated …by darkness …by lies …by Satan …by sin …by death.
- He was born …to live …to die …to pour out his spirit …to return …to reign.
- He preserved Humanity. He cemented God’s glory on earth. He ensured God’s ultimate plan.
- We will praise his name no matter if we face …darkness …lies …Satan …sin …death …sickness …political upheaval …incompetent society …ignorance and bigotry …opposition to God’s work.
There is nothing more important than the Glory of God and the Kingdom of Christ.
There is nothing more important than obeying his commands and testifying to the fact that he defeated death. There is nothing more important than living, gathering, and spreading the message of repentance in the face of the coming kingdom. And so, there is nothing more important than continuing to hold and proclaim the news that God the Son became a man, so that we could be with him forever.