The night was probably quiet as the sheep rested in the field, the shepherds keeping a vigilant watch over them and perhaps sharing stories they had repeated many times before. Just another night in the life of a shepherd, or so they thought. Unknown to them, this was no ordinary night for while they engaged in the ordinary, the extraordinary was taking place.
Luke tells us that as the shepherds kept their watch that night, “An angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord flashed and shone around them, and they were terribly frightened. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people. For this day in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord (the Messiah). And this will be a sign for you [by which you will recognize Him]: you will find a Baby wrapped in [swaddling] cloths and lying in a manger.’ Then suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host (angelic army) praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest [heaven], and on earth peace among men with whom He is well-pleased'” (Luke 2:9-14, AMP).
It was a celebration like no other! An army of angels, a chorus of voices giving glory to God and announcing His peace and goodwill toward men (Jews and Gentiles). As the angels returned to heaven (v.15), we can only imagine the rejoicing as millions of their counterparts joined in the celebration, no doubt watching in awe as the related events unfolded on earth. The eternal son of God had wrapped Himself in human flesh, leaving behind the splendours of heaven, and had gone down to temporarily dwell with men as one of them. The world did not know it then but in the birth of the little boy, joy had come into the world; a joy that was not known before and one that has not been known since. Through Him, the light had come and the glory of the LORD had risen upon mankind. The prophet Isaiah, centuries before, had put it this way, “Arise [from spiritual depression to a new life], shine [be radiant with the glory and brilliance of the Lord]; for your light has come, and the glory and brilliance of the Lord has risen upon you” (Isaiah 60:1). The gospel writer John would later write, “And the Word (Christ) became flesh, and lived among us; and we [actually] saw His glory, glory as belongs to the [One and] only begotten Son of the Father, [the Son who is truly unique, the only One of His kind, who is] full of grace and truth (absolutely free of deception)” (John 1:14).
God had introduced Himself to the world in the person of His Son Jesus. It has been over two thousand years since and we are still celebrating God’s most precious gift to the world. It is true that for far too many the reason for the season is buried under the avalanche of commerce, but for those of us who have accepted Jesus as Lord, we are forever grateful that God so loved the world that He gave us His only begotten Son. As we open our gifts this Christmas, let us remember the most treasured of all gifts – JESUS. He is the reason for the season.
From my house to yours, a very Merry Christmas. In a time when it is not cool to be a Christ-follower, let us unreservedly and unashamedly celebrate the birth of our Lord!