Christmas ’2012′ ~ Santa Claus, reindeer, snowmen, cards, parties, lights, decorated trees, wrapping paper, bows.
Christmas ‘the beginning’ ~ Mary & Joseph, baby Jesus, manger, bright star, angelic host, shepherds, sheep, peace on earth, good news, (SALVATION!)
Luke chapter 2, the familiar recounting of the Christmas story, like that of a well rehearsed children’s play, all the characters are in place, the declaring angels hit their queue perfectly, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men.” LOVE IT!
There is one small phrase I want to point out in the narrative, “And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.” (v. 8) I’ll jump right to it … did you know that scholars believe, due to the proximity to Jerusalem THESE lambs were the temple lambs. THESE shepherds were caring for lambs destined for sacrifice! The spiritual custom (requirement) of the day was to raise or purchase a lamb, take it to the priests and have it offered as a substitutionary sacrifice for atoning forgiveness of their sins. (Pause … stop reading … think about this)
Would it be a far reach to state that these shepherds KNEW the divine importance of “keeping watch over their flocks …” Could it be that God sent the angels to the people that would … GET IT? The angel declares “… I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord.” The Messiah has come, the Savior. The narrative continues, “… they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph and the baby, who was lying in the manger.” They left. In a hurry. It doesn’t say if they appointed someone to stay, but they sought out Jesus and then spread the word about Him.
Remember the conversation Abraham had with Issac as they climbed the mountain? Abraham’s response so very prophetic, “The fire and wood are here,” Issac said, “but where is the lamb…” Abraham answered, “God Himself will provide the lamb…” (Gen. 22:7-8)
Jesus’ birth. “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” (Jn. 3:16)
Fast forward 30+ years … this, recorded of John the Baptist, “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
THIS, the season of Passover… the blood of the Lamb marking people to be released from the wrath of God.
Later, as we follow the story of God, the angels again declare, this time … “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, And strength and honor and glory and blessing … be to Him who sits on the throne, And to the Lamb, forever and ever!” (Rev. 5:11,13)
May we this season, attempt to grasp the full message of the birth of Jesus. Behold the provision and O so worthy Lamb of God. The provision of Christmas
In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love & good deeds.” ~ Heb. 10:24)