Recently a few things caught my attention as I read the stories in the opening parts of the New Testament explaining about God coming to earth as a human; starting as a baby!
One starts by tracing the family line through which the Messiah would be born. Beginning with Abraham and working all the way down to Joseph, husband of Mary (Jesus’ mother).
I was reminded of the faithfulness of God over centuries of time in fulfilling His promise of “seed” to Abraham and so to preserve the line of descendants to make sure His Promise did come about! By God’s oversight and enabling, the Messiah was born according to His plan and promise!
Some of the most well-known men and women in the Bible are included in this genealogy: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, and Ruth. As I thought about each of them, I reflected on the faithfulness of God.
These people all had to learn the same lessons as we. People with doubts, fears, insecurities, experiencing opposition, and difficult life experiences.
They learned also how to be outsiders and yet people who knew what it meant to purposely place their faith in God and to find Him absolutely faithful!
We all know the language of God’s faithfulness but we need to consider how much of its reality we actually know?
God is faithful and we, as His people, can have absolute confidence in His Presence; His provision; His protection; His Promise.
In these passages, I also considered the number of times God spoke to His people:
- He spoke to Zechariah and Mary.
- Four times He spoke to Joseph; guiding, protecting, and directing him.
- God spoke to the Magi.
- He spoke to the Shepherds.
God is still speaking.
He cares deeply for His people even now. He is watching over us and leading us in the way we too should go.
I noticed that God also speaks into the peoples’ fears:
- “Do not be afraid Zechariah.” Luke 1:13
- “Do not be afraid Mary.” Luke 1:30
- “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid.” Matthew 1:20
- “The angel said to the shepherds ‘Do not be afraid.’” Luke 2:10
For each of these people, the work of God and the Presence of God initially caused fear but He then spoke into their fears.
The command to not be afraid is comforting because of the Source from whom it came: “Do not be afraid” says God, for He would be their comfort and strength, providing assurance!
Lastly, I considered the angel’s message to the shepherds.
“I bring good news of great joy which will be for ALL the people; for today in the city of David, there has been born a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:10-11
It’s Good news of Great joy and for all the people!
What’s the good news? A Savior has been born! A Rescuer!
“She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21
This is good news! We all need His rescue from the penalty of sin and the power of sin in daily living.
He is also Lord! The Saviour who has been born is Lord; the Master. That, at first, can seem like a fearful thing because we fear giving up what we perceive as control but the reality of a new Master, who is Christ the Lord, is the most liberating news we can receive! By yielding to Him, we come to know by experience His rescue. The more we come to terms with His Lordship the more we enjoy His salvation.
The Shepherds while returning home were glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen! This was the testimony or message of what they heard and saw!
What will be the message you carry with you this Christmas?
Will it be “the Christmas of COVID-19”?
Or will it be “the Christmas when God’s people proclaim Good news of Great joy which is for everyone?
A Savior has been born! He is Christ the Lord!
By Ben Ellershaw