Whether or not the liturgical calendar is even on your radar, we hope these devotions give you an opportunity to think about the incarnation, the reason Jesus came, and afford you the opportunity to dialogue with your family and others about the glory and greatness of Christ our treasure and King.
I invite your family to read Luke 2:1-20 this Christmas Eve. For today’s devotion, we will focus on v.10-11
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.
Christmas is Good News
The phrase “I bring you good news” is only one word in the original language. And it is actually the word in which we get the English word “evangelize.” What is interesting about this is in a way we can say this angel, perhaps it was Gabriel, is evangelizing these Shepherds.
Evangelism is simply sharing the good news. In the original language “evangelize” is the verb form of “gospel.” So to evangelize is quite literally to “gospelize.” All times and seasons are wonderful to do this but at Christmas, some people seem perhaps receptive or at least there are avenues open to sharing the gospel.
So what is the good news of Christmas? Exactly what the Angels announced. Jesus is:
This implies we need saving, doesn’t it? If I said “Hey, there’s a guy at the grocery store giving away free cats, you ought to go check him out” you probably wouldn’t find that appealing would you? Why? You don’t need a cat. Actually, no one needs a cat, really.
But, the problem is when most people hear that Jesus is Savior, they think “so what?”. I mean that’s sure nice. It’s sure nice of the guy to give away free cats and it’s sure nice that Jesus is the savior but that doesn’t really affect me.
Oh, but it does. Christmas is good news because there’s bad news first. And the bad news is that we’ve fallen short. We’ve not measured up. We’ve rebelled against God and we are sinners by nature and choice. And ironically, sometimes the Christmas season really reveals that in people doesn’t it? Greed, cut in line, road rage in the parking lot, anger at what we perceive as poor customer service, etc. These are all manifestations of a deeper problem: we are sinners in need of a Savior.
And God sent us a Savior! He is also:
Christ The Lord
This Savior is Jesus who is the promised One! Jesus is the Messiah. The anointed One. The One foretold. And He is Lord. He is God in the flesh sent down to rescue us. To look to Christ in faith, to surrender yourself to Him, to bow the knee to His Lordship, and trust His perfect life and death on the cross is to be forgiven of all sin! Good news indeed.
Christmas brings Great Joy
Today is Christmas Eve. How is your joy today? Maybe I should ask this: What is your joy today based on?
This time of year can be tough on people. Maybe they are stressed financially. Or maybe they have lost a loved one and Christmas brings back those memories.
But the joy I’m talking about is beyond that. It is deeper than mere happiness or sadness. It is deeper than the joy of family and friends and food. It is the joy of being reconciled to God. It is the joy of being who we were created to be: People who glorify God and enjoy Him forever!
Christmas is good news of great joy because God wrapped Himself in human flesh to rescue mankind from sin so that we might be brought into a relationship with Him. Fullness of joy is only found in the presence and person of Christ. Ultimately, you will be let down, frustrated, disappointed, and stressed out, if you try to rest fullness of joy in anyone else or anything else.
People will fail you. Stuff will crumble. And we are foolish to seek fullness of joy in anything but Christ. Nothing else in this universe can sustain fullness of joy. Your spouse or your kids or your grandkids can’t hold up to the fullness of joy you were made for. We were made to adore Jesus!
The reason we do seek fullness of joy in other people or things is always a lack of faith. We don’t really believe Christ is all He says He is. But can I exhort you this Christmas Eve to look to the Son in faith?
Christ by highest heav’n adored
Christ the everlasting Lord!
Late in time behold Him come
Offspring of a Virgin’s womb
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see
Hail the incarnate Deity
Pleased as man with man to dwell
Jesus, our Emmanuel
Hark! The herald angels sing
“Glory to the newborn King!”
Jesus is Emmanuel – God with us. This is why the angel says it is such “good news of great joy…”
For all the People
We know in Luke the story of this good news of great joy is revealed to be for literally all who will receive it.
And even in this context, we see a glimpse of that. Who did the angel go to? Lowly shepherds. Outside the city, in the dark. This announcement wasn’t to kings, or scribes, or the elite of society. But to the lowly, to the outcast. The gospel breaks down all barriers.
And notice their response:
When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. (Luke 2:15-16)
They left their livelihood. They left their sheep! And sought Christ the Lord. They believed this good news
The gospel is for all men who will embrace it by faith. Not one country, not one ethnicity, not one socioeconomic status. It is good news, of great joy, for all the people…
And then, see what else the Shepherds did in Luke 2:17-18. Just like the angel pronounced the good news to them, the shepherds went out proclaiming good news to others. What an opportunity we have today! As you gather over the next few days for Christmas celebrations, what prevents you from intentionally sharing this message with those in your family who are not serious about Christ?
What prevents you from saying “Hey, today is about adoring Jesus and here’s why: God sent Him to reconcile us to Himself.” Evangelism and Christmas just go together, don’t they? Use these opportunities wisely for the glory of King Jesus.
Merry Christmas to you and yours this year! Soli Deo Gloria