Points Covered: A Christmas message of hope. The hope that came to man on Christmas.
Well what a joy is it to celebrate yet another Christmas. It reminds of God’s faithfulness upon us year after year. Maybe some of you are having a great time this season. Maybe you are going through tough times –Times of uncertainties, challenges, and facing and setback in life. I want to tell you no matter what your condition – there is a reason to celebrate because Christ in us is the hope of glory.
Brief Background of Jesus’ Birth:
Joseph and Mary went to Bethlehem for the first census ordered by Caesar Augustus. Several months prior Mary had conceived in the Holy Spirit the Son of God, and is now advanced in days. While Joseph and Mary were in Bethlehem, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room available for them.
It was a beautiful, probably a dark night in Bethlehem. There were shepherds watching their flock at night. As you look up from the shepherd’s fields you could see the sky silhouetted against the darkness of the night. The sheep, all gathered together for the night, are being guarded by the shepherds. As the custom of the day was, some of the shepherds were probably sleeping while others were taking the watch during different portions of the night.
As the shepherds were in the field keeping watch over their flocks at night, suddenly the angel of the Lord appeared and the glory of the Lord shone about them. The darkness was split by this radiance of the glory of God. The shepherds were startled and were very afraid.
I can imagine their fear as their night was broken by this sudden appearance of this mighty angel. I think we would have been startled and astonished had we been there on that night. This angel of the Lord came and said to them, “Fear not, don’t be afraid.”
Luke 2:10-12 10But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
Then the Bible tells us that suddenly there was with this angle a multitude of the heavenly hosts. Luke 2:13-14 13Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 14“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favour rests.”
I do not know how many angels appeared there, but in my thinking I really see the sky filled with angels from horizon-to-horizon. Hebrews 1:6 When God brings his firstborn into the world, he says, “Let all God’s angels worship him.” The whole sky was filled with angels.
Some of them could have still been in their heavenly abode but in my eyes I see those angels filling the whole earth. The Book of Revelation tells us the number of God’s angels: Revelation 5:11 Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousands times ten thousand.
You cannot multiply that out. You cannot multiple 10000 x10000 then in addition there are many more. So it is a 100 million plus thousands times thousands. At the birth of Jesus, suddenly the sky is filled from horizon-to-horizon with these wonderful angels praising God and saying: Luke 2:13 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favour rests.”
Luke 2:15-18 15When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” 16So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.
The message of the angels to the shepherds is the message of Christmas and in it we find the message of hope for all mankind.
1. You are important to God.
The first announcement of Jesus’ birth went to some shepherds. The only invitation from God to anyone to come and visit Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus was to a group of shepherds.
God loves you and cares for you. No matter how insignificant I may think I am, God knows me, God cares for me, and so I am important to Him.”
Shepherds were at the opposite end of the social strata from King Herod & all the influential people of the day. They lived in the fields with their animals. They weren’t respected. They had no power or prestige. Yet, God’s angel came to them & said, “Unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior who is Christ, the Lord.”
I do not know what your condition is today. You may be overlooked by friends, family or even society but God cares for you. All throughout scripture we see God honouring & using people & things that the world often overlooks or ignores.
1 Corinthians 1:26-2826 Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 God chose the lowly things of this world.
Illustration: A young boy, Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers & carted off to Egypt. Yet, when God wanted to deliver a very special message to mighty Pharaoh, it was the slave, Joseph, who was brought out of the dungeon to interpret the message. God uses the lowly & despised to show His power. God will use you.
When God decided to select a mother for His Son, He went past the rich and influential and went to an insignificant village called Nazareth. He found a peasant girl. She did not dress in designer clothes. She did not have a sophisticated education. But she was pure, & God selected her to be the mother of His only begotten Son.
When God makes His announcement, it is delivered to shepherds. It is like Jesus saying in the Sermon on the Mount, “If God cares about sparrows & lilies, then He cares about you.” If God cares about shepherds, He cares about you!
We all need to hear that. All of us have known feelings of rejection. All of us have known feelings of being left out. Christmas comes. The light shines, & God says, “No! You’re wrong. I made the announcement to shepherds, & I make it to you. Unto you a Savior is born.”
Today, He cares for your suffering. He cares for the lonely. He cares for the ones who are suffering loss of a loved one. You are important to God and Jesus cares for you.
2. PEACE ON EARTH.
Angels said to the shepherds. Luke 2:14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favour rests.”
The angles declared peace on earth. How does the peace come? Luke 2:11 Today in the town of David a Saviour (The peace comes from Jesus Christ our Saviour) has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.
Now, keep this in mind what the angel said and see the declaration of the wise men at the first Christmas: Matthew 2 mentions of the Magi or the wise men from the east. Like the shepherds they saw yet another sign in heaven: They saw a star when it rose and they left out of their homes to worship.
Now look at the proclamation of these wise men about Jesus. Matthew 2:1-2 1After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”
The Magi asked, “Where is the King of the Jews born?” What was the message of God through the angels about Jesus? Luke 2:11 Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.
That is a meaningful and startling declaration. First of all God did not announce that a king was born. It was the wise men who asked for a King. There are a lot of carols about the king and surely Jesus is the King of kings and Lord of lords and I love those carols. But the announcement that this angel made was not of a king which had been born because he did not come on this occasion to take the government of Israel and this world. He did not come as the king of Israel. Jesus will come as King in the future some day but rather the angel gave an even greater and perfect announcement – Today in the town of David a saviour has been born.
Mankind needed something bigger than a king. Man needed something to prepare himself for God’s future kingship. Man needed forgiveness of sins. Man needed a saviour. So he announced that a saviour was born and he told who this saviour was. His title is Christ, the Messiah. He is the one who is prophesied in Genesis 3 and prophesied so many times over in the OT scriptures. Jesus is our saviour. Jesus brings us peace with God.
Romans 5:1 We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. Sin is Bad News, Jesus Christ is Good News.
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
How to receive this peace?
Acts 16:31 Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved.
Romans 10:9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
You see, God has given us the recipe for life. He says, “You want peace? Then here is the recipe. Find forgiveness of sin through Jesus Christ. So God says, “Here’s my gift. Here is hope for mankind” It is not just the gift of a baby, but it is the offer of peace with God.”
3. HELP IN THE PRESENT.
Every year when Christmas comes it reminds of God’s promise to God offers “Help in our present situation.”
Matthew 1:23 The virgin will concieve and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel (which means “God with us”).
Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
Matthew 11:28 Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
1 John 2:1 My dear children, I write this letter to you so you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have a helper in the presence of the Father—Jesus Christ, the One who does what is right.
In Jesus’ birth the shepherds were sitting out on the hillsides, watching sheep all night long. They were poor. Life was hard & harsh for them, without much hope of it ever getting better. One glorious night, the angels appeared to them and made this wondrous announcement, “Unto you is born this day in the City of David, a Savoir who is Christ the Lord.” And suddenly everything was changed. God had become real to them. God had come to help them, to be their Saviour, to be present in their daily lives.
At the other end of the spectrum were the wise men, Magi. They were people with power, authority, and wealth. Yet there was emptiness in their lives. So when they saw the star, they came because they needed help in their daily routine of life.
Whether rich or poor, powerful or weak, whoever we are, we need help in our day-to-day struggles. He knows our pain and struggles. That is where Jesus has stepped in, to be present with you and help you.
4. HOPE FOR THE FUTURE.
When God gave Jesus, it is hope for the future. Colossians 1:27 To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
You know what kept the shepherds going? It was hope of the coming Messiah. And when the Messiah came everything would be all right again. And that hope burned in the hearts & lives of the people of Israel.
You know what kept the wise men going? It was hope. Every time they would go out & search the heavens, looking for that star of promise. And they knew when they saw it they must follow wherever it led them, because it was a sign from God, & it promised the birth of a king. So the hope kept them going.
After meeting baby Jesus see how they shepherds were: Luke 2:20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
A meeting with Jesus changed the perspective of the shepherds. They were joyful and jubilant. Inspite of their hardships they found joy and hope. Jesus is hope for the future.
Isaiah 41:10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Matthew 28:20 And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. The gift of Christmas is hope for mankind.
Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Conclusion: At Christmas God brought hope to us. An impossible dream come true- “Peace with God which gives us hope for the future.” Maybe there will always be wars & rumours of wars in this world. Maybe there is sickness, pain, failure, and struggles in this world. But Jesus brings hope and comfort. Wish you a Merry Christmas and blessed life through Jesus Christ. Amen!