As It Was, Christmas Eve – 1997
December 24, 1997
The Christiams Story according to St. Luke has to be one of the most familiar of all of the stories in the Bible. Our earliest memories of it may be visualized in the pageant, children in bath robes with towels on their heads… animals… sometimes made of cardboard… sometimes real children in costumes and makeup… sometimes real animals. And angels, lots and lots of angels. For pastors, one of the great reliefs of this story is that there is always a place for one more child in the angels’ choir. There is only one Mary, one Joseph, three wise men and there seems to be an effective limit of 5 or 6 on shepherds. But there are no limits on angels. So, the child who is new, or slow, or rowdy, has a place in the pagant of this story. The story is very ordinary until the angels arrive. But when the angels enter, everything changes.
The shepherds are terrified. All of that light, all of that glory and the presense of an angel. The first thing out of the Angel’s mouth was, “now don’t be afraid.” It was not an announcement of the plan of Salvation History. The Ten Commandments were not read. There were no complicated statements of doctrine. There was no learned exposition of the Trinity. There was no brilliant recitation of Apostolic Succession. There was no budget presented. In fact it did not resemble a church gathering much at all. The message was, “now don’t be afraid.” I have some very good news for you “you can be filled with joy, everyone can.” “There is a new born baby.” “The baby is the Savior.” “The baby is the Annointed one of God.” “The baby is the Lord.” “And, you can find that baby.” “You can touch, see and hold that baby.”
Then the Angel Choir couldn’t hold back any more and they started to sing.
When the angels were through singing the Shepherds went and checked it out.
It was exactly the way the angel said it was. Then the Shepherds were singing.
Beloved of God, that story still means now exactly what it meant when it happened. The message and meaning is still the same.
Don’t be afraid. Whatever it is in your life that is a cause of fear, you don’t have to be afraid.
You can still see, touch, and hold the Savior.
You can sing praise to God.
In the same way that there is always room in the Angel Choir for one more child, even if that child acts up in the rehearsal, there is always room for one more soul in God’s love, even if that soul messes up in the rehearsal for heaven called life.
This is a great story. It is very good news. Let the hope that is in you overcome your fears. You really do have a Savior. That Savior is Jesus, born at Bethlehem.
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