Greetings in the Name of Jesus!
As we all prepare to celebrate the birth of our Savior and Lord, our family of ministries and I pray that your hearts will be filled with the “great joy” that the angel declared to the shepherds when he proclaimed the “good news” of the birth of the Messiah that fateful night long ago (Luke 2).
These men—these shepherds—were chosen by God to be His witnesses to the grand spectacle of “a multitude” (read that “thousands”) of angels, packing the sky over the fields surrounding the birthplace of the Great Shepherd, exuberantly proclaiming,
“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to people He favors!” (Luke 2:14)
They came from a long lineage of noble shepherds: Abraham, Moses, David—even God Himself (Psalm 23; Psalm 81). Their very lives were a living portrayal of willing self-sacrifice, compassionate suffering, agonizing loss, and wearying labor, and they understood full well what we now know would face the Shepherd-descended-from-shepherds.
What a poetic choice of the Master Artisan! Can you see it? Can you see the delight on the Father’s heart as He bestowed on His image-bearers His priceless gift, the gift of Himself to one day pay the price for His creatures to be restored to their rightful place in His family? Can you hear the awe-filled song of the angels, see the dark sky flooded with the glory of the Lord that shined around them, resonate with the joy of the announcement?
As you and those you will be spending the Christmas-time days and evenings with gather together, remember this: No matter what your relationships have been like up to this point, Jesus came for each and every one of you as if you were already His family!
For those who have experienced loss this year, remember that He knows your pain and aches along with you—He lost friends and family to death and to betrayal.
For those who have experienced newness of life this year, remember that He came to give us life and that abundantly!
For those who are in the midst of uncertainty, remember that He is not just the Suffering Servant, He is also the Conquering King—and you are His!
And, no matter what this last year has been like for you, Emmanuel—“God WITH us”—has been right there with you, laughing with you, crying with you, hoping with you, lamenting with you, praying with you, and both going before you and walking alongside you.
May this Christmas Season be your time of re-anchoring yourself to the One who loved you from the first instant that the universe was spoken into existence, and He will continue to love you for the rest of eternity.
Celebrate—truly rejoice and be grateful! —that, while we were helpless, ungodly sinners who were God’s enemies, He showed His love for us by sending His One and Only Son into the world so that we might live through Him. (Romans 5:6, 8, 10; 1 John 4:9)
We pray God’s richest blessings on you all.
In the Love of Christ…