Thursday, December 25, 2008

Fear Not, Good News!

The Birth of Jesus Christ

Luke 2:1In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. 6And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, "Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and 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 among those with whom he is pleased!"

When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us." And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

As the Creator of the universe shows His power outside, bringing even more snow, I can't help but think how different Heaven and earth are. Jesus had been in Heaven, dwelling in perfection, and now He came to earth with His fallen creation. I really can't imagine perfection, but no sickness, no pain, no sin and death, perfect harmony within the Godhead, and then exchange that for earth as Jesus experienced it in human form.

How sad it must have been for Jesus to listen to people argue and fight, to watch them sin right in front of Him, to see the wickedness of the people He created and came to save, all the while they would only see a boy growing into a "normal" man.

Today is the day we celebrate Christ coming to earth, though we should celebrate it every day. He left the splendor of Heaven to come to earth, take on human form, with all its limitations, live a sinless life, in the midst of sinful people, took on my sin and bore the shame and disgrace of the cross, though He had no sin of His own, was buried and rose from the grave to conquer sin and death for me and you. Now He is with the Father, where He belongs, and He is preparing a place for those who love Him. Now that is Good News!

I can't imagine why He would go to those great lengths to win me, but He did. He came to earth to purchase my pardon, to pay the debt I owe, yet could never pay, and to have a relationship with His created ones. His steadfast love is our hope of salvation, our comfort in the storms of life and our hope of eternal joy.

Ps. 33:13 The LORD looks down from heaven;
he sees all the children of man;
14from where he sits enthroned he looks out
on all the inhabitants of the earth,
15he who fashions the hearts of them all
and observes all their deeds.
16 The king is not saved by his great army;
a warrior is not delivered by his great strength.
17 The war horse is a false hope for salvation,
and by its great might it cannot rescue.

18Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear him,
on those who hope in his steadfast love,
19that he may deliver their soul from death
and keep them alive in famine.

20Our soul waits for the LORD;
he is our help and our shield.
21For our heart is glad in him,
because we trust in his holy name.
22Let your steadfast love, O LORD, be upon us,
even as we hope in you.

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