This Christmas, we have been revisiting some of the teaching surrounding Jesus’ birth that we have looked at in our Luke series. I’ve entitled this teaching series, ‘Mary Treasured up These Things’ (from Luke 2:19) because my hope and prayer is that, like Mary, we will treasure the story the truths and the God of the Christmas story.
Today, this Christmas Eve, let’s remember some of the greatest gifts that God wants us to enjoy through Christ.
You can listen to this devotional at:
‘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 that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is the Messiah, 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 heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favour rests.” (Luke 2:8-13)
These shepherds, by God’s grace, are offered some amazing things by God. This is a fantastic story that is designed by Luke to teach us that Jesus is true and that He is the promised Saviour. However, it’s also a story that is to be experienced by everyone who has ears to hear God’s invitation. Yes, this Christmas, let’s remember the story, but let’s also experience the story for ourselves. Let’s briefly look at God’s gifts to us in Christ:
i. Less fear
The Angels tell the shepherds, “Do not be afraid…”. This is about the dramatic circumstances but it’s also about a life with less fear. Are we fearful? God wants to cast out fear from their lives. This Christmas, cast off your doubts and fear and let fear be replaced by the faith that Jesus gives.
ii. Good news that will bring great joy
The angels declare, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.” This offer of Joy-giving news is for ‘all people’ including you and me. Are we joyless? The gospel is good news that will cause great joy for you and me this Christmas. This news, however, is no good if we believe the bad news over it! Do we choose to elevate our fears over God’s faithfulness? Do we believe our failure over His forgiveness? Do we choose to lay in our dark feelings rather than resting in His love? A joyful approach to life is one of the gifts that Jesus gives.
iii. Assurance of Salvation
The heavenly host announce, “Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” This is linked with the last point but Luke stresses and repeats the truth that Jesus is The Saviour and so will I! Have we messed up and sinned? The Saviour has come! He’s the Saviour who has come to die so that we can be reconciled to God and, ultimately, He’s going to restore all things. Certainty of being loved and saved by God is one of the gifts of Jesus.
iv. Peace and favour
Finally, we are told, ‘Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favour rests.” Are we distant from God and feeling condemned? Jesus gives us peace with God. If we will listen to His wisdom, we will also experience more peace in ourselves, less chaos in our lives and more peace with others. This Christmas, let worry and rejection be replaced with peace and favour, which are gifts of Jesus that Jesus brings to those who will hear.
This Christmas Eve, you may have a lot to do. You may be excited. You may be in a dark place. Whatever your circumstances let’s remember and experience the great gifts that God wants us to enjoy through Christ.