Today’s Gospel: Luke 2:1-14 – Christmas Day
It is Christmas Day, a day we celebrate a mystery which is almost unfathomable to our mortal minds–Jesus, the Divine Son of the almighty, holy, immortal God has become flesh while remaining the Third Person of the Trinity. To challenge man’s logic even more, God did not protect Mary and Joseph from the hardships of their times. While nine months pregnant, Mary had to travel on a donkey and give birth surrounded by sounds and smells of animals in a barn.
This is not simply a charming tale to repeat once a year. Luke’s Nativity narrative announces that our Saviour shattered all worldly expectations, because the real savior of the world was born into poverty in the age of Augustus, when earthly power was rooted in imperial Rome, and the rich, pampered, emperor was proclaimed as a god, the bringer of peace.
The initial reaction of everyone who encounters angels is fear. Luke tells us that when the glory of the Lord shone around them, the shepherds were terrified. Yet the news the shepherds receive from this fear-inspiring angel is good, joyful news. And after we get over our shock, there is nothing to fear from angels or the glory of God.
After the angel’s proclamation, a multitude of God’s heavenly messengers praise God’s glory and declare a blessing of peace on the earth, and God’s favor. The emphasis is on God’s favor, not on people, because we could never earn or deserve such blessing.
In response, the shepherds got up and went to see if what they had heard was true. When they had seen the sign for themselves, they could not keep silent and their witness about the Christ Child surprised all those who heard it. Finally, just as the angels had praised God, the humble shepherds go back to the fields praising God, back to their ordinary lives but transformed and filled with joy.
Do I react with fear and then joy when God manifests the reality of His power and might?
Lord, transform any fear we might have in the face of Your might and power into awe and praise as we celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Copyright 2019 Melanie Jean Juneau
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