• 36°

HUMBLE: Grace came to live among us

Christmas readings

• Isaiah 9:2-7

• Psalm 96

• Titus 2:11-14

• Luke 2:1-20

 

Shepherds were tending their flocks on the hills outside of Bethlehem that night — nothing unusual about that. Perhaps they had noticed one unusually bright star, but most likely it was an unremarkable night.

Then, suddenly, normalcy was interrupted.

A messenger from heaven, an angel, appeared.

God’s glorious light lit up the place.

The shepherds were terrified!

The angel spoke: “Don’t be afraid, for look, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people: Today in the city of David a Savior was born for you, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be the sign for you: You will find a baby wrapped tightly in cloth and lying in a manger.” (2:10-12 CSB)

Those shepherds must have been stunned.

Questions probably flooded their minds: the Messiah, the King for whom we have waited so long, has been born?

The son whom Isaiah said would carry the government on his shoulders?

The one whose government will never stop increasing while it brings God’s peace to Earth?

The one called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace? He’s born at last?

But lying in a feeding rack for animals?

Then, suddenly, an angel army appeared declaring, “Glory to God in highest heaven and peace on earth to those with whom he is pleased” (2:14 GNB)

At long last, nearly 1,000 years after David had first received God’s promise of a son and hundreds of years after Isaiah prophesied that a child, a son given by God, would be born, it had happened. And in such an unexpected way!

As part of celebrating Christmas, with awe I will read once again John 1:1-18.

I will think about the word who is God, who created all things, yet, as John testified, “the Word became flesh and took up residence among us. We saw his glory — the glory of the one and only, full of grace and truth, who came from the Father” (1:14 NET).

God the Creator and King did not come with pomp and fanfare. Rather, he came as a helpless babe. Amazing!

Decades later, the apostle Paul would write, “the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all people” (Titus 2:11 NET).

“His Grace,” the King, came to offer God’s peace to a rebellious race instead of the death we deserved.

He came that we could have a do-over, as Paul added few sentences later, “when the kindness and love of God our Savior was revealed, he saved us. It was not because of any good deeds that we ourselves had done, but because of his own mercy that he saved us, through the Holy Spirit, who gives us new birth and new life by washing us. God poured out the Holy Spirit abundantly on us through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that by his grace we might be put right with God and come into possession of the eternal life we hope for.” (Titus 3:4-7 GNT).

John expressed it this way: “to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. They are reborn — not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God.” (John 1:12-13 NLT)

God could have ended human rebellion with just a word or even a breath, but he came humbly as a man.

Jesus did not come to take over the world with military might or to win some political fight. He came to a world oppressed and under a curse because of human sin to offer his own body as living bread to be broken for the life of the world (John 6:33, 48-51).

Whatever gifts we may receive at Christmas, none compare with the gift of God’s Son.

“Thank God for his gift that is too wonderful for words!” (2 Corinthians 9:15 CEV)

If you have not received Jesus as your King, receive him today. Believe and receive. Join with God’s people in praise.

“Sing to the LORD a new song;

Sing to the LORD, all the earth.

Sing to the LORD, bless His name;

Proclaim good tidings of His salvation from day to day.” (Ps 96:1-2 NASB)