What does the Christmas story mean to you and to me?
“And the angel said unto them, Fear not; for, behold, I bring you good news of great joy, which shall be for all peoples. Lord. ”Luke 2: 10-11 (Read Luke 2: 1-20)
We know the story of Christmas. We know that, in fulfillment of ancient prophecies, Jesus was born to the Virgin Mary in Bethlehem and was laid in a manger. But what does this historic event mean to us today? Is it just a quaint story to be repeated every year at Christmas time? Or, does it make sense to us every day of our lives?
To answer these questions, I draw your attention to the announcement of the angel of the Lord to the shepherds in the field outside Bethlehem on the night of Jesus’ birth. What did the angel say? Consider his words, for he brought the very word of the Lord God to the shepherds.
The angel of the Lord said first: “Do not be afraid; for, behold, I bring you good news of great joy, which will be for everyone. After allaying the fear of the shepherds – and who wouldn’t be afraid so suddenly, in the middle of the night, an angel appeared and the glory of the LORD God Himself shone around them? – the angel said to the shepherds that he brought them good news of great joy, which will be for everyone. The message was not just for the shepherds, it is for everyone. It’s for you and me today! And, as the angel said, it is good news and great joy to those who hear and believe the angel’s announcement.
And what is this good news? “For today is a Savior born to you in the city of David, who is Christ the Lord. That day, in Bethlehem, the city of David, a Savior was born!
The long-awaited Messiah and Savior of sin, eternal death, and damnation was born. The seed of the woman promised in Genesis 3:15; the seed of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob who would be a blessing to all nations; the Son of David who would reign over an everlasting kingdom; the Child promised in Isaiah 7 and 9; the root of Jesse; the Sovereign promised in Micah 5; the Redeemer of Israel promised in Psalm 130 – it was all fulfilled in that Child born in Bethlehem.
And who is this Savior? The angel says he is “Christ the Lord”. He is the anointed of the Lord, the Messiah; He is the LORD God Himself who came to this world as a true man to fulfill the law of God for us and to bear the chastisement for the sins of all and to be resurrected in victory.
He is true man, born of Mary, so that he can take our place under the law and fulfill it for us and that he can take our place under the judgment of God and endure our punishment. And, it is true God that his holy life and his innocent sufferings and his death on the cross would be a sufficient ransom for the sins of the whole world. Cf. John 1: 1-14, 29; Girl. 4: 4-5; Collar. 1: 14-23; ROM. 5: 12-21.
What does this mean for you and for me? Why is this good news for us? Why does Christ’s first coming give us reason to rejoice and be filled with joy? Because the atonement was made for our sins. The righteous punishment demanded by God’s law for the sins of fallen mankind has been satisfied in the blood of Christ, shed on the cross!
Therefore, we who were unacceptable and under God’s condemnation because of our wickedness and sin are brought near by faith in the shed blood of Christ. We are, through faith in Christ and in His atoning sacrifice, pleasing to God, forgiven, and forgiven. We have peace with God the Father and have become His own beloved children through faith in Jesus Christ. Cf. 1 John 1: 7 – 2: 1-2; Ephesians 1: 6-7; 2: 11-22; Galatians 3: 26-29. Indeed, you and I and all who trust in Christ can be in a good mood, for our sins are forgiven us in Jesus Christ (cf. Matt. 9: 2).
Because God provided His own Beloved Son to be our Savior, we do not have to fear death. Christ Jesus died for our sins and rose from the dead and conquered for us eternal life in the mansions of his Father’s house (cf. Heb. 2: 14-17; John 14: 1-6).
And, as the shepherds were filled with joy to know that God loved them so much that he gave his only begotten Son to be their Savior (cf. John 3:16) and rushed to Bethlehem to see the things that are happening. ‘had passed, and also returned to say to the others and “glorify and praise God for all the things which they had heard and seen, as it had been said to them” (Luke 2:20), so we worship and praise our God – joining the choirs of angels in heaven – for sending us a Savior, for making atonement for our sins, and for earning us forgiveness of sins and eternal life in heaven!
LORD God, we thank you and praise you for the gift of your Son to be our Savior and to earn us the forgiveness of all our sins and eternal life in your kingdom, and we thank you for revealing the message to us through your Word. from the angel to the shepherds, the “good news of a great joy which shall come to all men”, the good news that a Savior has been born to us, and that this Savior is Christ the Lord – God in the flesh – and that in him, and because of his blood shed for us on the cross, we have the forgiveness of sins and eternal life through faith in his name. In the name of Christ, we pray. Amen.
[Scripture is quoted from the King James Version of the Bible. Devotion is by Randy Moll. He may be contacted by email at [email protected] Other Moll devotional writings are available for free at https://goodshepherdonline.org. The opinions expressed are those of the author.]