by: Rich Vaughan
Practicing what I have preached, I spent some time rereading the Christmas story found in the Gospel of Luke today (Luke 2:1-20). Because the story is so familiar to me it is easy to “skim” over it. Why? Because I have read it every Christmas for forty-six years of pastoring, plus reading it during the Advent season, and of course, growing up with it as a Christian and hearing it every year during the Advent/Christmas season within the church. It is easy to rush over it. I know the words by heart. And yet, this year I am reading it slower than usual and pondering and reflecting on each word, phrase, and line. There is nothing new; or is there? The words are the same ones that I have read or heard over 71 years. And yet, there is a timelessness to them that speaks to me today. Take the phrase we find in verses 10 & 11 where the angel speaks to the shepherds:
“Fear not, for behold I bring you tidings of a great joy that will be for ALL people. For unto you this day is born in the city of David a Savior who is Christ the Lord.”
Does any other sentence in the New Testament sum up the hope of Jesus better than this one? And in our current period of time where we continue to deal with the issues of COVID, where we are angry over politics and are “afraid” of who might be the President (both sides), is there any better words than those we find in Luke 2:10-11?
“FEAR NOT”! Why? BECAUSE God is moving in our world. BECAUSE He loves us and this scripture is His love letter to us. Why can we have joy in such a year like this? BECAUSE Jesus is for ALL people and He has come as the Christ and as a Savior. “Christ” is the Greek word for “Messiah” And Savior means exactly what you think it means. By the way, the word “Christ (the) Savior” only occurs here and one other place in the Gospels (John 4:42). Luke 2:10-11 reminds us that in this insane year of 2020, with all that has happened, we do not need to be afraid or angry. What we need to do is rest in God’s word and message. We need to find the “great joy” that is part of this scripture and we need to rejoice that we have a Savior who loves us. How can I say all that to you at this time in our lives? Simple – because Luke 2 reminds us of a powerful but simple truth - GOD’S GOT THIS!
Amen and Amen.