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!”
It’s interesting and inspiring to think of the people of Christmas Eve. Just looking at each person or group represented in these few verses…
SHEPHERDS – These guys were marginalized and, probably, hygienically challenged. They lived and worked outdoors. Socially, they were at the bottom of the heap. Many considered them not just physically dirty, but “spiritually” dirty. That they have any screen time at all on Christmas Eve shows just how different Christ and His birth are. Jesus came for all of us. Yes, He came for the least of us, but His coming really meant that the least of us would no longer be called the least of us. All are equal in the sunshine of God’s love in Christ. This liberates and encourages all of us. Whatever position we have in this broken world does not matter to God. In God’s kingdom and economy, we are judged by our character and our faith. Amen.
AN ANGEL and THE HEAVENLY HOST – Angels are people too, in a way. They don’t die. They have power the likes of which we can’t imagine. They are frequently in the presence of God. They obey perfectly (or are rejected completely, which is the case for Satan and all demons, fallen angels all). It was a big day for angels. Angels are created beings with a purpose: they work for and glorify God. They do not exist for themselves! On this big day, they got to experience their reason for being like never before.
DAVID – David had been made a promise by God as told to him by Nathan (2 Samuel 7). From my sermon earlier today 12/24/17 … “Who was King David? Well, he was the eighth and youngest son of Jesse of Bethlehem. He was of the tribe of Judah. You can read about him in 1st and 2nd Samuel as well as 1st Kings and 1st Chronicles, but you can learn about him from the inside out by reading the Psalms, over half of which he is credited with writing. He was one of three kings of the United Monarchy of Judah-Israel from 1050 BC to 930 BC. Each reigned about 40 years. Saul, the first, reigned from 1050 to 1010. David reigned form about 1010 to 970, and Solomon his son reigned from 970 to about 930. After that the Kingdom was divided into Israel in the north and Judah in the south. / David was chosen to be King by God through the prophet Samuel over all his older brothers. He is famous for slaying the giant, Goliath. He is also famous for his sinful relationship with Bathsheba and his murder of her husband Uriah. He ended life on a bitter note, in some ways, due to his epic failures as a father. Despite the worst of what he did, the Scriptures call him a man after God’s own heart (in 1st Samuel 13:14 and Acts 13:22). And David’s heart, when he was at his best, was to worship God above all things. Nothing meant more to him than the chance to build a temple for God. Today we’re going to read about the day God said “no” to this dream of his… for the sake of a bigger ‘yes.'”
THE BABY – Jesus Christ was of the tribe of David. He was “the Son of David.” He went from everything to nothing; that’s what we contemplate tonight. No change of circumstance anywhere at anytime can compare to His. We are incapable of fully imagining it, because we can only partially imagine what perfect fellowship with His Father for eternity past had been like. Human history is a parade of Biblical prophets leading up to the moment of Christ’s birth, who all point to it in one way or another, and who all affirm both the reality of it and the reality of the love of God it proves. Our Savior and Christ is born; this is what we celebrate this night and tomorrow. Merry Christmas!