Roland & Lisa Cataford
“Fear not, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be for all people; for unto you is born this day in the city of David, a savior, which is Christ the lord.” – (Luke 2:10,11)
An angel spoke these words to temple shepherds just one mile outside of Bethlehem. Why was it that humble shepherds were the first to hear this glad announcement? The next verse explains: “And this shall be a sign to you: you shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in the manger.”
Since there was no room in the inn, Mary and Joseph found shelter in a place called “the tower of the flock.” Here the temple shepherds watched the flocks to pick the spotless lamb for the yearly passover sacrifice. When the shepherds went to see baby Jesus, they understood ‘the sign’ – this was the prophesied “lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world.”
Thirty-three years later during passover, Jesus let the leaders of the world crucify him. The prophecies were fulfilled – “he was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as sheep before its shearers are silent, so he did not open his mouth.” It was not his desire to resist, but to “give his life a ransom for all.” Such power and dignity marked his death that a war-hardened Roman centurion fell on his knees and cried out, “Surely, this was the son of the God.”
Christmas is about God’s love for all – “For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” – and his story will only be complete when there is another shout of good news from heaven announcing his return. Merry Christmas!