Angels, Shepherds, and a Baby

Posted on December 17th, 2015 by Eli Thomas in Know Christ

In 1963, Andy Williams released the song “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” Each year when I hear this song I am reminded that the Christmas season is a time that is truly special. I love the decorations, shopping for the perfect gifts, planning and celebrating with family and friends.

And yet, as I prepare to celebrate another Christmas, as I work on the words I will share on Christmas Eve, as I write messages for Advent, to help others anticipate and celebrate the birth of Jesus, I am reminded that, though we know the story, maybe the true importance of Christmas gets lost in the noise.

As I was preparing the message this week, a message which centers around the shepherds who are the first to receive the message of the birth of the baby Jesus, I was reading an excerpt from Max Lucado’s book God Came Near. The title of this book strikes me every time I see it on my bookshelf because it truly captures what we celebrate at this time of year.

I am reminded that in His great love for us, Jesus shed the trappings of divinity, he gave up his place in heaven, and instead “Came Near” to us as one of us. Shedding the glory of heaven, he put on the the clothes of broken humanity, coming to earth, born of a mother, wrapped in rags rather than fine cloth, visited by shepherds rather than royalty.

What great love this is that our God would choose, freely and compassionately, to live amongst us. That word that we sing at Christmas when we lift our voices in the song “Oh Come Oh Come Immanuel”- that word, Immanuel, so simple and short, contains the immensity of our God’s love. Immanuel, God with us.

So remember this Christmas season, the birth of Jesus is so much more than the celebration of the birth of a baby. When we get behind all the trappings, the gifts and the wrapping paper and the malls and the preparations for family feasts, our celebration is about the gift of a savior. And not just any savior, but God himself come to be amongst us. Born to a poor carpenter and his teenage wife, announced by angels to shepherds, a baby, born to save the world.

As I wrap this up, I want to leave you with a quote from Max Lucado:

“He came, not as a flash of light or as an unapproachable conqueror, but as one whose first cries were heard by a peasant girl and a sleepy carpenter.  The hands that first held him were unmanicured, calloused, and dirty. No silk.  No ivory.  No hype.  No party.  No hoopla.”

God came near.

Merry Christmas.

Check out the longer excerpt from God Came Near