Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Christmas Gifts (11/13/08)
TITLE: The First Christmas Gift
By Patty Scahill
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Christmas Day! This earth went through thousands of years of preparation for the celebration of the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Gospel of St. Luke, Chapter 2 verses 8-20 is a wonderful portion of scripture that describes the precious gift of God, given to mankind in the birth of His Son. His birth was announced by the sudden appearance of an angel of the Lord to some shepherds who kept watch over their flock by night. Accompanying the appearance of the angel was the glory of the Lord, which shone round about them. This brilliant white, shining cloud of magnificent brightness, caused the shepherds to become terribly frightened. The experience they were having must have created an awesome feeling within them and a powerful atmosphere around them. Evident in the words of the angel who spoke to them saying, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” The shepherds received instruction that they were to look for the sign of a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger. Luke 2:13-14 goes on to say, “And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.” Myriads of Angels, the heavenly host, appear singing and filling the air with sounds of angelic melody; welcoming the Savior to this waiting earth.
Jesus chose a humble entrance into the world he created. His birth is announced in the Old Testament scriptures, pointing us to the day when it would be fulfilled. As we read these verses concerning the Lord’s birth, we can experience a glimpse into the very heart of Jesus. He willingly came to this earth born in the most humble of places, a stable. His choice was not a palace of magnificent stature. The gospel message was first given to those who were considered the lowliest of people. Shepherds were at the bottom of the social scale of society. Yet God chose these precious individuals to partake of this magnificent event and become the first witnesses of this miraculous occasion. He identifies with the shepherds, as he is the Good Shepherd, one who watches over the sheep of his pasture with a loving heart. He is the Shepherd of humanity, no matter where we may find ourselves in this life. Jesus came as a babe, bringing life, peace and goodwill to those who would receive him.
At the same time, heaven could not be silent at the birth of our Lord. Although the world and its inhabitants conducted business as usual on this special night, God would not permit the event to go unnoticed. This welcoming of the Lord Jesus Christ would not be ignored in the heavens. Angels of countless number were dispatched to worship him, as the Son of God made his arrival upon this earth. Heaven wouldn’t remain silent; “this day in the city of David, the Savior, which is “Christ the Lord” is born!” Glory to God in the highest! What an awesome symphony of sound and celebration filled the air as the shepherds listened intently. When the angels left, the shepherds immediately responded and they went and sought after the child who was born in the manger, spreading the word the angels had given them concerning the birth of Jesus.
God’s gift of His Son begins with his birth. A savior is born to us; One who willingly left the throne of heaven, born of a virgin, came to this earth to bring glad tidings of goodwill to all humanity. Jesus, Immanuel, God with us! God, full of love for his creation, reaches out to us in the gift of His son Jesus.
As we celebrate this holiday season, let’s remember the true meaning of Christmas. It is giving and receiving. God gave, and we can receive. Isaiah 9:6 says, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” My prayer is that we open our hearts to the Lord during this special season and experience God’s gift, freely given to us!
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