Nativity of Our Lord | December 24, 2019
Isaiah 62:6-12 New Living Translation (NLT)
O Jerusalem, I have posted watchmen on your walls;
they will pray day and night, continually.
Take no rest, all you who pray to the Lord.
Give the Lord no rest until he completes his work,
until he makes Jerusalem the pride of the earth.
The Lord has sworn to Jerusalem by his own strength:
“I will never again hand you over to your enemies.
Never again will foreign warriors come
and take away your grain and new wine.
You raised the grain, and you will eat it,
praising the Lord.
Within the courtyards of the Temple,
you yourselves will drink the wine you have pressed.”
Go out through the gates!
Prepare the highway for my people to return!
Smooth out the road; pull out the boulders;
raise a flag for all the nations to see.
The Lord has sent this message to every land:
“Tell the people of Israel,
‘Look, your Savior is coming.
See, he brings his reward with him as he comes.’”
They will be called “The Holy People”
and “The People Redeemed by the Lord.”
And Jerusalem will be known as “The Desirable Place”
and “The City No Longer Forsaken.”
Psalm 97 New Living Translation (NLT)
The Lord is king!
Let the earth rejoice!
Let the farthest coastlands be glad.
Dark clouds surround him.
Righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne.
Fire spreads ahead of him
and burns up all his foes.
His lightning flashes out across the world.
The earth sees and trembles.
The mountains melt like wax before the Lord,
before the Lord of all the earth.
The heavens proclaim his righteousness;
every nation sees his glory.
Those who worship idols are disgraced—
all who brag about their worthless gods—
for every god must bow to him.
Jerusalem has heard and rejoiced,
and all the towns of Judah are glad
because of your justice, O Lord!
For you, O Lord, are supreme over all the earth;
you are exalted far above all gods.
You who love the Lord, hate evil!
He protects the lives of his godly people
and rescues them from the power of the wicked.
Light shines on the godly,
and joy on those whose hearts are right.
May all who are godly rejoice in the Lord
and praise his holy name!
Titus 3:4-7 New Living Translation (NLT)
When God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit. He generously poured out the Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior. Because of his grace he made us right in his sight and gave us confidence that we will inherit eternal life.
Luke 2:8-20 New Living Translation (NLT)
That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”
Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in highest heaven,
and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”
When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished, but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often. The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them.
The Lord is king! Let the earth rejoice! This is the reaction of the shepherds. Yes, first there is fear and the angel reminds the shepherds that there is no need for fear, for a Savior has been born in Bethlehem.
The Savior has been born. Several decades later, the Apostle Paul writes about this Savior:
When God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit. He generously poured out the Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior. Because of his grace he made us right in his sight and gave us confidence that we will inherit eternal life.Titus 3:4-7
This baby was born to give life to the whole world. The shepherds were the first to hear the Good News of his birth. They were the everyman at the time. They were the blue collar workers – the lowly – the humble of society. Nobody really cared about the shepherds. I believe God chose to reveal the birth of Jesus to the shepherds because of their humble status – a status that Jesus himself would have for His entire life. Jesus was not born in his own bed. Jesus was not buried in his own tomb. Jesus told those who wanted to follow him, “Foxes have holes and birds have nest, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”
The shepherds had to make a decision. They quickly make that decision and go to Bethlehem to see the child and they made the most of it. I truly believe that in the act of going to see the child, they received Jesus into their heart. They were obedient. After they saw the child, they let everyone know that this Savior was born. I’m sure they told everyone in Bethlehem, and after they returned to the fields, they continued to rejoice. They probably even sang songs to rejoice in the birth of the Savior of the World.