By Caron Cline
Time. God created the heavens and the earth and immediately started His cosmic clock, setting boundaries called days, weeks, months, and years. Although He set eternity in our hearts, our finite minds cannot comprehend such an infinite concept. We need borders which we call beginnings and endings. Our Father understands our limitations all too well therefore He orchestrates circumstances within those boundaries of time. So, in the fullness of time, God sent His Son to dwell among us as the visible representation of Himself; One Who would be a perfect reflection of grace, love, and mercy. This concept known as time delivers us each year to the season of remembering the visitation of the Promised Messiah. Though this story has been celebrated time and again, we never tire of hearing it.
“In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flocks by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, ‘Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger’. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace among those with whom He is pleased!’ When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us’.” Luke 2:1-15.
The shepherds were frightened, then humbled, and lastly, filled with an overwhelming sense of joy and purpose. Angels had visited them, spoken to them, and actually announced the birth of the long-awaited Savior of the world to them, mere shepherds. But something more incredible had also been revealed; this Christ child was nearby and the angel invited them to personally visit the newborn babe. The trip was made in haste; the sheep were temporarily forgotten; and the Savior was found lying in a manger, just as the angel promised. The arrival of unexpected guests must have astounded Mary and Joseph. When they heard their testimony of a choir of angels announcing the birth of the long-awaited Messiah in Bethlehem, peace surely flooded their minds. Their God had not forgotten them! This stable was no mistake! It was the perfect place for welcoming shepherds to this divine appointment. But how much did these shepherds understand about the Promised Messiah? Did they realize that His arrival changed the course of history forever? Did they understand the horrors of sin and the necessary sacrifice of this child for those sins? Did they comprehend that He would be a light for revelation to the Gentiles and glory to the people of Israel? Probably not! But they understood that this revelation was from God and that their lives would never be the same again. This encounter with the Christ child brought forth testimony from their lips to all who would listen along with praises and adoration to the One who graced them with this moment. The shepherds departed, leaving Mary to treasure their amazing words of sweet affirmation within her heart. This unexpected visit quieted many of the doubts that invaded Mary and Joseph’s minds. After all, who could have imagined that God would allow His own Son to be born in a stable?
Yet this was only a precursor of future rejection, misunderstanding, humiliation, and horror that would mark His short life on this planet. For now, His destiny was hidden from His earthly mother but in a few short days, a sobering prophecy would be spoken that would forever ring in her ears.
Simeon, the man of God, would speak these words specifically to Mary: “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.” Luke 2: 34-35. Wrapped in those swaddling clothes, Jesus rested in the arms of Mary, just as any other baby would rest in its mother’s arms. Yet this child was the fulfillment of God’s promise to Adam and Eve; His promise to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; His promise to David, and now His promise to Mary and Joseph. She must have reflected on the words spoken by the angel: “And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call His name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to Him the throne of His father David, and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end”. Luke 1:31 The grace of God protected Mary from the complete revelation of her Son’s mission to earth. For now, she was allowed the joy of simply falling in love with her child. The next months remained relatively normal, but within the first two years of Jesus’ life, more visitors would arrive. Magi from the East, who had seen His star and traveled many miles, came to worship the new King. Their inquiries into His whereabouts launched a chain reaction of events that sent Mary and Joseph fleeing to Egypt for their child’s life and the killing of multiple boys under the age of two. The enemy was already seeking to thwart the plans and purposes of God. Jesus was sent to save His people from their sins and nothing would be able to hinder His mission. Do we tire of this timeless story? The danger is real; the flesh is weak. The Spirit living within every true believer always ignites a passion within our hearts to celebrate and worship the One Who came to rescue us from our sins. The Spirit’s mission is to glorify Jesus; to lift Him up; to remind us of everything that He said and did, and to drop us to our knees in adoration of the One who loved us enough to die for us. He actually emptied Himself, took the form of a servant in a body of flesh and blood, and then humbled Himself and willingly died on a cross. Therefore, God has highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name that is above every name so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow in heaven and on earth and under the earth and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. O come, let us adore Him!!!!
Caron is a follower of Jesus Christ and a member of Pleasant Hill Baptist Church in Morganton, NC. She loves to teach the word of God.
Her desire is to see every believer grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord. Read more good Christian news from Caron HERE.