“For today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”
400 years. While it is a simple turn of a page in our Bibles, that is how many years went by between the close of the Old Testament and the start of the New.
For the nation of Israel it was 400 years of silence. 400 years without a prophetic warning from God. It was also 400 years of waiting. Waiting for their Deliverer to come.
400 years… and then, in an instant, all of humanity changed forever with the cry of a new-born baby. 400 years of silence were broken by the greatest and craziest story ever told… the story of Jesus Christ. It is a story of how God Himself stepped out of eternity and took on human form so that that He could save mankind from their sin. The story of how hope came through a baby boy, not only for the Jews, but for the entire world, the story of how hope came for you and for me.
Can you think of anything more crazy? God eternal chose to empty Himself of glory, humble Himself and become a baby. He grew to be a man who lived among broken, sinful people – among us. He chose to die on the cross to pay for our sins. God came to earth so that one day we can spend eternity with Him in all of His glory in heaven.
The nation of Israel was waiting for a political savior, a military commander who could deliver them from their oppression by other nations. But that is not what God had in mind. God loves to surprise us; with Him one can expect the unexpected. Rather than a political leader to deliver the nation of Israel, God sent His Son to save the world.
In our world of fairytales and fantasy it can be easy to unintentionally package the story of Jesus’ birth with the manger scene, angels, and shepherds right in there with Santa and his reindeer. However, may we never forget that the story of Jesus’ birth is not just another story, it is not a fairytale, it is not a fantasy. It is truth. It is hope. It is everything.
The Christmas story, as crazy as it is, gives us the greatest hope of all.
My prayer for you this Christmas is that when you reflect on the Christmas story, our reason for celebrating, that it is far more than just a story. That it is your hope for all eternity.
“Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth. This was the first census taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. And everyone was on his way to register for the census, each to his own city. Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, in order to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child. While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth.
And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord 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 today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,“Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.”
When the angels had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying to one another, “Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us.” So they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger. When they had seen this, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child. And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart. The shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them.”
May your Christmas be filled with the hope only found in personally knowing Jesus as your Savior!
Wishing each of you a blessed Christmas!