There are many traditions and tales associated with how Christmas is celebrated today. Some are rooted in wonderful memories of how families have gathered with those they love to celebrate the day of the Lord’s birth. These warm memories are meaningful and cherished. And yet, sometimes it can be helpful to go back to the source. To the very beginning.
The Bible speaks of an incident that took place more than 2,000 years ago. This is neither a story nor a tradition. This is an account of something that actually took place one evening. It happened in the region of Judea in what we now call the Middle East. Luke 2:8-11 (ESV) speaks of this moment of time in the following way:
And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
This moment changed everything. Yes, it was an unusual moment in history given than an angel of the Lord appeared and spoke to a group of shepherds. And yet, the most remarkable part of this account are the words spoken by the Angel. He shared “Good news of great joy.” He announced the birth of a Savior, of the Messiah. What’s more, the Angel declared that this good news of great joy is for “all the people.”
Everyone ever born from that moment until now has something that no one else ever had. We have the opportunity to receive Jesus as our Savior. We have the choice to leave behind the Kingdom of Darkness and to follow Jesus into the Kingdom of God. This is indeed good news, and for all who receive it there is great joy.
As you celebrate Christmas this year, hopefully gathered with those you love, consider thinking back to that moment in time and to the words shared by the Angel. If you’ve never done so, consider inviting Jesus to be your personal Savior. Ask Him to cleanse you of all past sin, and to lead you moment by moment from now until, based on your faith and trust in Him, you enter heaven.
For those of us who already know Jesus as our Lord and Savior, let’s think back to that moment in Judea so long ago. Let’s celebrate deep within our hearts the great joy that can only be known by those who follow Christ. And with gentleness and respect, let’s share that good news with those who are willing to hear it.
May your celebration of Jesus’ first coming be especially joyful and meaningful this year. Amen!