I hope you didn’t rush through this text today. Because it’s a familiar text, we can sometimes go into “auto pilot” mode when reading. It’s a story that never gets old, even when you hear it several times the same day. What spoke to you from this birth announcement as you read it this time?
There is so much packed into these few verses. God stripped himself of the majesty of heaven and came to earth as a helpless babe! There was no palace waiting for our king. Only a manger bed. That silent night was all orchestrated by God, which makes it even more precious.
“The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!” Imagine what the shepherds thought when they heard the angel speak those words. Did it even sink in right away that they had been given such momentous news? People had been waiting for the Messiah for generations. It must have felt like forever. And just like that, God entered our world.
All these years later, I have a hard time wrapping my head around the depth of God’s love. He left his heavenly throne for you! How does that make you feel? I don’t question that God became flesh in the person Jesus. I have no doubt of God’s capability to coordinate such a miracle. It’s the “why?” I struggle with, sometimes feeling undeserving.
God loves us. Despite our brokenness and wayward hearts, he loves us. Especially in the messiness of our lives, God is there for us. Jesus’ birth was messy, surrounded by animals. Our king was wrapped in strips of cloth, who knows if they were even clean. Jesus didn’t wait for the best accommodations. His entry into the world was lowly yet magnificent.
As the hosts of angels celebrated and shared the news with the shepherds, they revealed the thrill going on in heaven that night. “Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.” Even the angels had been waiting for this day to come. They were delighted to see how God was working it all out, just as he had said through the prophets.
Who pleases God? The angel’s tidings speak of peace on earth to “those with whom God is pleased.” Here’s an example of something I’ve read year after year, and it hit me today. Peace is special and promised for those “with whom God is pleased.” What about those who don’t please God? Hoping for “world peace” may be fruitless as that would assume the “whole world” pleases God.
While the world may not “please” God, God loves us, every last one of those “in the world.” John 3:16 says it best, “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” Jesus’ fate was set the moment he shed his first tear as a wailing infant. For today, let’s focus on Jesus’ arrival and how that changed the world forever.
We also know that “peace” is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit. Jesus’ very presence with us should bring us peace. I have to say I feel more peace than I used to. I’ve made an intentional change in my life to spend more time in God’s word, in prayer, and in the company of other Christians.
Take time today to reflect on how the birth of this King affects you and how you want to respond to God’s love.
Let’s pray … Lord, I celebrate with the angels how magnificent you are. Your glory and mercy are indescribable. Thank you for how you used such a lowly entrance to introduce yourself to our world. May I follow your example and look for simple ways to introduce others to your love. In Jesus’ name. Amen.