Christmas Eve 2020
We are told that the night in which Jesus was born, shepherds were out in the fields keeping watch over their flock. It was a duty not highly viewed by many during that time for it was, indeed, a smelly and dirty job. To add insult to injury, it did not pay much; no one could ever dream of becoming wealthy by caring for sheep. Yet, it was to these men that an angel of the Lord appeared with an announcement directly from the throne of God; “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2.10-11; italics added). It was a specific announcement for a specific people; and the shepherds were the privileged ones to hear it first! For centuries, the people of Israel had been at odds with God, the One who took them out of Egypt, called them His people, and cared for them. In return, they despised Him, rebelled against Him, cursed Him, and defied Him in ways too numerous to name, to the extent of killing the prophets who proclaimed a word from God. Consequently, they were always under political oppression from neighboring countries, always wondering why they were suffering hardships; they ended up as exiles for 70 years. What Israel refused to see was that their ways had caused a rift between them and God; and God was calling them to “get their act” together. For four hundred years, between the closing of the Old Testament and the opening of the New Testament, God was silent. But now, the silence is broken! God speaks! A Savior is born! For the shepherds, for Israel, for all people!
This is what Christmas is all about; God sending His Son in the form of a baby to be Savior of all humanity which has been at odds with Him for centuries. Yet, in His compassion and mercy, He provides a way to make us right with Him – through Jesus the Christ. While the humanity, presently, searches for quick remedies to its numerous problems, the Light of the world shines in the Person of the baby born in Bethlehem two thousand years ago (John 8.12). As we celebrate His birth, let us remember that the good news of great joy is for us – a Savior has been born, Christ the Lord!
God’s peace be with you.
Pastor Tony Rivera