The month of December is adorned with festivities left and right – each as extravagant, beautiful, and well-lit with twinkling lights as the next – so we want to take a couple of weeks to focus our attention back to the reason for the season: the birth of our Savior, Jesus. Pastor Paul Jackson continues to bless us with humor, Christmas sweaters very much apropos, and insight into the incredible story of the heavenly birth. If you missed the first week – we got you, whether you are a visual or an auditory learner.
Luke 2:1-20: “In 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. And 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 great 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.”
Let us celebrate one of the main messages in this story (as seen in Luke 2:14): Jesus came to bring peace on earth for all people. Not one person one earth is excluded from this list.
Isaiah 9:6-7 prophesies the peace that arrives to earth with the birth of Jesus:
“For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and of peace
there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.”
Contrary to what we may believe, the world into which Jesus was born was not a peaceful place; it was corrupt, and many people were oppressed. The land was war-torn and devastated. However, Jesus’ message of peace for all surpasses the parameters of circumstance. Though the world of Jesus as a man looked differently than the world we live in today – America in 2016 – we will always be able to relate to his message. The peace of God isn’t hinged on circumstance, but on the person of Jesus, who is everlasting and always faithful.
Philippians 4: 7: “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Jesus Christ.” The peace enveloped in the birth of Jesus is not made to make sense to us, because it transcends human understanding.
As we dive further into the passage of Luke 2, we read into the characters and come to understand that the shepherds – the ordinary people, the workers – represent us, as humanity. What is most extraordinary about these ordinary people, however, is their immediate response to angel Gabriel’s birth announcement. Instantly, upon hearing of Jesus’ birth, they left their flocks to find the him, the King of Kings.
The last few verses of Luke 2:1-20 (namely, 15-20) represent the promise of God to the shepherds fulfilled. They found baby Jesus lying in a manger, just as it had been told to them. They were not disappointed, because God is true to His word every single time. Just as the promise to the shepherds surrounding Jesus’ birth was fulfilled, God fulfills His promises to us. In a world characterized so heavily by disappointment, unmet expectation, and heartache, let us thank God that He does not disappoint, but rather, fulfills His word and exceeds our greatest expectations. Let us be people that glorify Him in this season and always, praising Him for all that He has done.
Merry Christmas, Mosaic family and visitors! Please remember that next week’s service will be held at the Mosaic Edmonds campus, and The New Year’s Day Selah service will be online only.