Christmas! One of my favorite times of the year. As a child I remember being filled with anticipation for Christmas morning when I would be able to open those presents. I would poke around the tree, shake packages (as well as other devious methods), and try to guess what each one held. But no matter how much I would plead or beg the answer was always the same from my parents… “You have to wait until Christmas to open that.” Wait until Christmas? Did they think I was patient? Despite my lack of patience I would wait, and it was always worth waiting.
When Jesus came to earth as a baby, the wise men each brought Him a gift. But He also brought us gifts as well. And unlike my parents, He doesn’t make us wait until Christmas morning to open them.
New International Version (NIV)
But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
Psalm 27:1New International Version (NIV)
The LORD is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid?
Jesus birth reminds us of God’s love for us. A love that frees us from fear by giving us confidence that God can care of all our tomorrows.
Then the angels announced another gift. “I bring you good tidings of great joy, which will be to all people for there is born to you this day in the city of David a savior…” This time of year is often thought as a season of joy. But joy is not always easy to come by, even at Christmas. Why is that? Because this world is infected by a deadly virus, we call it sin. Sin mars every beautiful thing in this world. The angel proclaims this baby will bring great joy, because this baby is the cure we have been looking for! He is the Savior, who will bring back a genuine, lasting joy because He will save us from our sins! Jesus brought us the joy of being forgiven of sin. The joy of receiving a brand new start. The joy of belonging to the family of God. That kind of joy can’t be kept secret!
The angels told us of one more gift. “…Glory to God, peace on earth, good will toward men…”. This is a strange time of year. People celebrate the birth of the Prince of Peace, or in the least people celebrate a season of peace. People celebrate by giving toy guns and war themed video games. We sing sleep in heavenly peace, but wars are still fought around the world. The are also fought in the mall, in our schools, and even in our homes. Yet here is this angel telling us of peace on earth. That gift of peace is available to you right now. It doesn’t necessarily mean a change in your circumstances. But a calm that can fill your mind and heart even during the worst storm. Its a peace we get from knowing God is in control of everything! We have that peace because Jesus gives it to us. He doesn’t promise our peace won’t be threatened, but He does promise that if you will trust Him that you will have a peace nothing can take away.
Maybe for you Christmas has become a season of stress instead of the season of peace. Maybe you find no joy in Christmas and have found that your afraid of what lies ahead in the New Year. God sent His Son to be born in Bethlehem to give you some special gifts. The freedom from fear, the joy of salvation, and a peace that lasts. You don’t have to wait any longer to open these gifts. They are yours to open today.