merry christmas! (this post might be a little scatter-brained, but cut me slack. it is christmas, after all…)
something that hit me the other day when contemplating the christmas account in luke 2, was the reaction to Jesus’ birth.
luke 2:8 In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. 10 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 ; 11 for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 “This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.” 15 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.” 16 So they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger. 17 When they had seen this, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 The shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them.
celebration and worship! this might seem like an obvious reaction to jesus’ birth, but you have to realize that we look at it backwards through history. we see the ascension, resurrection, cross, miracles, ministry, etc. and most likely celebrate Jesus’ birth in light of what He went on to do.
the angels and the shepherds and mary and joseph did not worship and celebrate in light of Christ’s finished work. they worshiped in anticipation of it. they celebrated God’s faithfulness in the incarnation, but we have the finished resume to prompt us.
i wondered how much of our worship is based on what God has already done, while those in the christmas account are worshiping mostly for what God will do.
have we reduced christmas to simply another day honoring a man who did noble things like presidents day or mlk day? these are holidays instituted, after the fact, in light of what men did . “christmas” was instituted in light of what a man would go on to do.
yes, He went on to do AMAZING things that should be worshiped and celebrated. but the wonder of God’s faithfulness coming to fruition sparked the praise at Jesus’ birth with anticipation of fulfillment, not completion of it.
i have to confess, i don’t think i worship or celebrate with anticipation as much as i do in retrospect for work accomplished. while the Bible often speaks of future truth as if already accomplished, i think many believers (myself included) suffer from a “wait and see” mentality. we believe in the second coming, but because it’s “not yet” our worship is slightly muted.
however, the believers in luke 2, i think, believe in the salvation that baby Jesus would grow up to secure.
no sermon on the mount. no miracles. no cross. no empty tomb. just a swaddled infant, but a promise unfolding! and worship and exultation!
because, in one sense, He didn’t have to come to earth as a man. but He did if men were to be saved…
Galatians 4:4 But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, 5 so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.
Hebrews 2:17 Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.
we obviously don’t have the opportunity to celebrate christmas with the same mentality as it was celebrated in luke 2, but we can learn a thing or two about hope and anticipation in God’s faithfulness. and we can certainly keep celebrating christmas in light of what was accomplished! just don’t forget to worship God for what has yet to unfold!
Hebrews 10:23 “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful;”