UCAN sharing: The Gift sent and received
Scripture: Isa 9:6, Lk 2:1-20
23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated,
“God with us.” Matt 1:23
In this season thousands of packages are prepared and sent to be delivered to the destinations. This is not by chance and if done carelessly it is possible that the package not arrive. If Christ Jesus is the perfect gift then the perfect delivery was needed to get Him to man. God the Father prepared that plan long before time was and with the child Christ’s birth we see the glory of the Living God. This should bring us to respond. We can follow the shepherd and receive, rejoice and share the birth of our God.
Christ being all God in a human body means that at a certain point in time God choose to enter the world of man. When we stop and consider the magnitude of this act it is overwhelming. God is Spirit and so different than man yet in to man’s world he had to come. This required a perfect delivery for the perfect kid. God did just that in Christ Jesus. He laid out everything and how it would happen long before man existed or there was even time. When God does this it is finished in the sense that it must happen and will happen exactly as planned. Stop and think about how low our planning and control abilities are compared to God’s. We may plan a dinner with someone tomorrow only to find out at the last moment that your friend has to cancel. We can plan but it may not work out. In the birth of Christ there was never ever any doubt Jesus was born exactly where and how he was supposed to.
There are many plans in a man’s heart, Nevertheless the LORD’s counsel—that will stand. Prov. 19:21
God foretold the child’s birth and its details hundreds of years before it happened. In Isa 9:6 we see that God says that a child will be born. God was coming to save man through a vulnerable baby. To make it even more difficult that child had to be the Son of God. It could not be just any kid it had to be God in his fullness but in a human body. Hundreds of years after telling us the child would come to save man God carried out his plan. Jesus had to be born in a certain way and in a certain time and place. God foretold it so if Jesus failed one prophetic word he would not be God.
But God far out did Himself as we see in Luke 2. God moved people and made events happen to fulfill his plan. Caesar Augustus never saw the true purpose for the census he required but God did. It worked to bring Jesus to Bethlehem. All this was part of the delivery. Everything had to be done right and the statics for all the prophecies is staggering. Yet God in his power got Mary pregnant by the Holy Spirit, dealt with Joseph who was of the lineage of David and then led then to Bethlehem at a time when there would be few accommodations. Our God choose to be born in the most humble way.
There was no fancy crib or silk blankets for Jesus. He had simple swaddling clothes and an animal’s feeding troth. This too serves to reflect the characteristic of this King. So God carried out the perfect delivery for the perfect gift. But every gift deliver must have a person to whom it is directed. Man was the recipient of God’s labor in the form of his Son. And because of the birth man would no longer be in the dark but with Christ was birth an eternal light to call man back to God. Man then and now have strayed far from God. Today like then many live without giving God so much as a thought yet God is still shining his light to all and looking for the heart that is willing to receive the hope of Christ. God on the night Jesus was born choose the least likely people group to receive the invitation to come to Christ.
Shepherds were known to be badly behaved and often acted like scoundrels stealing and causing trouble yet to these God shows his glory and his angels point the way to the baby who will save man. This too shows God’s heart for the people farthest from God. No one is too low or sinful for God. His desire to reach man is too great to be weaken by anything man does. So the shepherds represent all men and how we when greeted by the love of God can turn and respond to Him with all we are. For the shepherds heard of the child from the angels. They could have rationalized it and explained away the message by some form of excuse. Today many do just this when the love of God is shared to them. They quickly put up a wall that keeps God out and so they fail to respond.
Hearing is the first part but after hearing action must follow if we are to meet and experience the glory of God. The shepherds got up and left to go see the child told to them. They were motivated enough to leave their flocks which meant their livelihood and risk lost to go see the child. When a person really wants to meet God they will do whatever is necessary to get to him. Too often today we Christians allow the world’s busyness to determine our priorities so that we often miss God’s blessings. Those who don’t know Christ are even worst they hide within the distractions of life to avoid meeting the Master.
Procrastination towards God hinders man greatly. We keep putting him off and we avoid looking into what he is saying to us. We are too caught up in our little worlds to stop and lend ear about a person born so long ago. This goes for Christians as well as non-Christians. It is simply a matter of degree. But the shepherds gave haste and went right away. Delaying spending time with God is one of the enemy’s favorite tools. God can wait why not enjoy the moment? The lie is so subtle many never get it that it is not what we do but who we do it for. Run to spend time with God in all you do.
The shepherds after hearing, going and experiencing rejoiced. When was the last time you had an all-out rejoicing time because of who God is? These people got nothing physical out of their effort yet they were filled with an indescribable joy. Why? Because their hearts were in the right place and their joy came from God. They worship Him and were grateful to him for the child. Again if you are struggling in Christ when was the last time you sat down and listed out your blessings? If you do you will see how great and faithful is your God and you will have reason to rejoice. The shepherds saw the glory of God and now knew him to be real in their lives. You too can rejoice by experiencing the love of God today. Come humbly with zeal to meet God and you will.
The shepherds didn’t keep their joy and experience to themselves. They told others. It is natural. It should be so with all true believers who are filled with God’s love. It overflows and wants to be shared. If one had a drug to cure people’s diseases but didn’t share it we would think that person evil. God’s gift is man’s greatest need and all men really need.
We need to respond like the shepherds so that we give like they did. Christmas is forever about giving now receiving.