Yesterday I perused the Christmas story as told by Luke in the first two chapters of his book. Both chapters are loaded with exciting and captivating events. It is almost as if God suddenly begins moving in “fast-forward!” Angels appear to all sorts of people Announcements are made. Miracles happen. Prayers are answered. Two babies are born – one named John and another named Jesus! There is lots of praise and lots of singing and lots of hope. A Savior has been born. I love Luke’s view of the Christmas story, and in my meditation yesterday, I outlined it like this:
- Christmas time is a time for praying. In Luke’s account prayer shows up several times. As the multitude are praying during the evening “incense,” an angel speaks to Zacharias to announce that he and Elizabeth were going to have a son named John! After the birth of Jesus, we encounter a woman named Anna who spent most of her life in prayer. And so forth. Whatever else we do this Christmas, let’s not forget to pray. Pray for peace. Pray for people around you who are without hope. Pray that many will receive this Savior who came into the world to save sinners. This is a time for praying.
- Christmas time is a time for praise. Read the accounts in Luke 1:46-55 and in Luke 2:13-14. Read Luke 2:20 and 2:28-32! Mary, the angels, the shepherds, and Simeon all have powerful statements of praise. We too should spend time in praise and worship during this time. We have a Savior. He is able to wash away our sins. He is “salvation . . . prepared before the face of all people” (Luke 2:30-31). I personally love that last clause – “all people!” May all of us take time for praise during this Christmas.
- Christmas time is also a time for speaking. Luke’s account is a record of God speaking in an incredibly powerful way. His voice is heard in every detail! We also have angels speaking. Elizabeth’s words are startling too. She greets Mary and says that the baby Mary is carrying is “my Lord” (Luke 1:43)! Mary’s words arguably form some of the greatest literary statements that have ever been made. We also read the words of Zacharias and the shepherds. Simeon and Anna’s words are recorded. This is a time for speaking. May God help all of us to speak boldly of the Jesus who not only was born, but who also was crucified for our sins, was buried, and was raised from the dead. He is a glorious Savior and all who come to Him for forgiveness and eternal life will find that very thing!
- Christmas time is a time for people! Read it carefully and notice how many people are involved in this story. Wives and husbands. Dads and moms. Temple workers and ordinary shepherds. Widows and widowers. Singles and married. People are visiting one another. People are worshiping together. People are working together. People are serving God together. All of us should see the importance of people during this time of the year. Pray together. Worship together. Eat together. Celebrate together. This is a time for people!
- Christmas time is also a time for consideration. As I was considering the story yesterday, several thoughts occurred to me. Consider that God doesn’t hurry. He promised a Savior thousands of years ago (Genesis 3:15). The time has finally come and the Savior is born! Consider that God works in hearts before he works in history! The religious leaders of that day were concerned about “history” but God was working in “hearts.” Jesus came to save us from our sins, to give us a new heart and to redeem us from a life of sin and its consequences. My friend Micah Self says, “God hates sin because God loves people.” God wants to save us from a life of ruin and condemnation and instead give us a life of peace and joy and favor and blessing! Consider that God also works through the normal events of life. He undoubtedly has the power to perform great miracles and more than a few are recorded in these chapters. However, there is a plethora of normal events. People working. People praying. People traveling. Shepherds watching their sheep. Innkeepers busily hosting a larger than normal crowd. A mom giving birth. Yet, isn’t it interesting that in the midst of these normal events, God is performing a miracle? God is becoming a baby! God is making “himself of no reputation,” taking the “form of a servant,” being made “in the likeness of men,” and humbling himself and “becoming obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:6-8). Why would God do that? Because the world needs a Savior, and “unto you is born this day, in the city of David, a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.” I am glad that I have met Him, and He has changed my life. I hope you meet Him too!
Merry Christmas, and thanks for reading.