June 22, 2021

Glory to God in the Birth of Jesus 25-12-2020

25th December, Christmas Service
Glory to God in the Birth of Jesus (Luke 2:8-20)
By Heeyoung Lim

Merry Christmas! Jesus is born! Peace be with you! Jesus came to be with us as our Saviour. Jesus is the promised Messiah and Saviour who brings salvation to people from all classes, races, and nations of the world. His role as Saviour was proclaimed before his birth. We are grateful Jesus’ salvation is intended for all people.
There were the Saviour’s Earthly Birth and Heavenly Mission. The story of the shepherds and angels is set at dark and quiet night. Then, suddenly light and singing in the dark and quiet. The first words from angels were “Do not be afraid.” The angel choir brings good news of joy for all people. But the fear comes first, and then the shepherds listen to the song of Good News. Light from the dark and singing from the quite are gifts sent by God. The shepherds heard Good News and experienced God’s grace.
When did you hear Good News for the first time? How did you respond to the Good News? Specific time, place, and ways regarding conversion would be all different in accordance with our character, personality, and our faith. There would be gradual conversion, sudden conversion, and crisis conversion, and so on. God’s ways and His timing are also different according to individuals. Many people cannot point the born-again moment when our heart was carried into the presence of Christ.
However, all the fear we had were in and out, and the turning point in our lives is not the end, but it is simply a new beginning. God’s glorious angel terrified the shepherds, but quickly brought them reassurance:
“Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today a Saviour has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.” (10-11) Gospel provokes joy which is the inward feeling of happiness instead of fear. Joy comes to all people, and it comes from God’s gift.
In Bethlehem, shepherds were nothing more than the ordinary. They would watch their flocks by night. One of the biggest surprises of Christmas is that shepherds were first to know about the coming of Jesus! God’s messenger could have gone to anyone, but chose the Shepherds, who became the first listener when God had the biggest news of all when they were simply at work.
God visited the shepherds through sending angels and lifted them to first witness to his salvation. It happened when shepherds were counting the sheep constantly and looking after them. Shepherds were in love and care, and they responded in worship and praise.
Telling the ordinary people first was important. It means that Jesus did not just come to the rich and the high even though the baby in the manger was God himself with all power and all authority under heaven. He came to the poor and the helpless, the sick and the lonely.
Most of us could probably be identified as an ordinary person like the shepherds in the field. I believe we share the privilege of hearing the Good News and encountering the living Christ with others even though we are still battle fields.
An angelic chorus burst on the scene, confirming the Good News, and singing heavenly praise to God. God revealed his glory, so that the shepherds could recognize.
“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favour rests.” (14)
God gains glory and people find peace through hearing Good News and praising God.
Angelic presence does not last forever, and angels leave. After the angel’s appearance what do the shepherds do? They made an immediate decision to go to Bethlehem to see what angels told them. They wanted to be a part of the work God was doing in this world, they saw God’s work in the face of a baby lying in a manger. I believe we are all already included in God’s awesome work of salvation and immediate decision is necessary for God’s work instead of delaying or holding back. That is one of reasons of joy and moving forward.
Shepherds found in a manger the Saviour, the Messiah, the Lord himself. Baby Jesus was in the feeding place. This baby is resting in a manger on the night of his birth. (14) It can be connected to table where community gather around.
And after going to the stable and finding the baby wrapped in a manger, what do the shepherds do? They go home praising God for all they have seen and heard. (20)
We can go into the world glorifying and praising God because we encountered Jesus. I hope and pray all we can run to Jesus and spread the Gospel so that we can share the words of glory and praise with others.
I am confident many of us would like to live singing praise to God and passing on important news to the people around you. This Christmas I hope we can do as those ordinary shepherds did and keep on praising God so others may hear about the birth of Jesus. We are all witnesses to God’s coming into the world as Jesus Christ our Savior.
The Good News of great joy that is for all people, and I hope we can extend the ministry of our church to all people whom Jesus came to save. We can expect to find God at work in places where people would never think and live each day in obedience so God can use us when his time comes.
I am sure God is with us always if there are congregants who are crying to the Lord especially among our church members in many reasons. And I believe Jesus is with us all the time for all individuals and families who are struggling with grief, depression, loneliness, and illness. Only God can count and collect our tears, and He listens to our painful inner voice. Each one of us is not alone, and God is giving us a new mission to love and care for each other. Let us share our joy, grief, love, and grace together.
Christmas blessing and love might rest on you in the deep star-filled night. I pray that all of us may are able to make the immediate decision for Jesus and be abundant in the love, comfort, and hope of Christmas granted by Lord, and once again I wish you a blessed and joyful Christmas!
Thanks be to God! Amen