Advent 2019 – Day 17

In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night.  And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened.  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; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.  “This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”  And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.”  When the angels had cone 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.”  So they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger.  When they had seen this, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child.  And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds.

Luke 2:8-18 

“Look what Santa brought me!”

We’ve been exchanging Christmas gifts at my office this week.  Shortly after the last batch was delivered yesterday, I heard the pitter patter of fully grown feet running to my door.  My colleague burst in with eyes dancing, her hands stretched out to show me the present she had just received.

Why is joy so utterly contagious?  And why do we find it so uncontainable?

We might credit the shepherd’s immediate response – going into Bethlehem to search for the Child – to the awe of having been overwhelmed by angels with a message from God.  But I’d wager it was joy that sent them out to tell everyone what they had found. 

There is another part of the shepherd’s story that I find remarkable:

“for today in the city of David there has been born < for you > a Savior”

Have you ever received something that was grander than you had expected or even hoped for?  Or watched a child’s eyes as you add an extra scoop of ice cream to an already hearty sundae?  When we think we’re being spoiled – receiving more than we deserve – we tend to react with the same incredulity: Is this all for me?

The angels didn’t need to include the “for you” in their message.  Surely it would have meant as much to the shepherds to know the Savior had been born, yet the message made it clear that the Savior was personally theirs.  It’s not an interpretive choice either, the Greek has the tiny personal pronoun σύ– sy = you.  It’s there, intentionally there.  This Savior, this long-awaited-fulfillment-of-every-promise-of-God-and-every-prophecy-of-hope is born for you.  Believe it.

The shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as been told them.

Luke 2:20

As we come to the last week before Christmas, we may be overwhelmed with what still needs done – gifts to buy, Chex mix to make, and all the things that need caught up at work before the year end.  I encourage you, friends, to pause and remember what an abundant gift Jesus is.  He is certainly more than I deserve.  Yet He is given to me and you.  A Savior has been born for you.  Believe it.

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