Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, 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, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign to you: you will find a babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, 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, goodwill toward men! Luke 2:8-14
This was the fullness of time, the appointed hour in which God publicly revealed his master plan. A plan foretold for millennia through the prophets, a plan which was in the mind of God from the foundation of the world. What was this news that required such a glorious announcement? What were these glad tidings of great joy? That God was making his move. God was setting up his check-mate progression, the end-game maneuvers to take back what was rightfully his. The events unfolded exactly as prophesied; the virgin with-child was even now giving birth in a stable in Bethlehem. The great star shone over their heads, which guided the steps of the watchful magi from the east. The Messiah had come. In the line of Judah, in the city of David.
How long humanity had languished, under the weight of sin and separation from their heavenly father. The very people designed and created for intimate fellowship with God and charged with ruling and stewarding the earth had fallen prey to deception and captivity at the hands of their ancient adversary. What hope was there for the heart of man? Only what God promised long ago—that someday there would be a savior. Someday the heart of stone would be exchanged for a heart of flesh. Someday our iniquity would be removed as far as the east is from the west.
The Apostle John wrote of the scene he saw before the throne of heaven, when he was taken up in the spirit and given the Revelation of Jesus.
Then I saw in the right hand of him who was seated on the throne a scroll written within and on the back, sealed with seven seals. And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?” And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or look into it, and I began to weep loudly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or look into it. Revelation 5:1-4
John clearly understood the ramifications of what he saw, and he wept loudly because of it. What was contained in the scroll was inaccessible. No one had the authority to undo what was done. All authority was lost. The true plan and purpose for mankind had fallen into ruin.
But God had a plan.
And Jesus executed that plan to perfection, in every sense of the word. He was the second Adam, the one who knew no sin, who became sin on our behalf. He became the sacrifice that ushered in a new covenant—a covenant built on grace. In a flash, all that was done became undone. Scripture says Jesus so thoroughly defeated our adversary that he made a public spectacle of him, when he triumphed on the cross (Col 2:15). This was the most brilliant stealth mission ever conceived, God coming to earth as a man to save all men and restore what was lost. The King had arrived for his kingdom.
Friends, the same glad tidings and great joy are ours today. FOR US THIS DAY is born a savior. Jesus is in the business of saving. He is in the business of restoration. He came to find what was lost and broken and ruined.
Your heart can be healed.
Your soul can be nurtured.
Your spirit can be made new, because of the victory of Jesus on the cross.
It all starts with simply saying, “Yes” and beginning to build a trust relationship with the God of heaven. The plans and purposes for your life can be restored.
Your destiny can be restored.
Your relationships can be restored.
Your mental and emotional well-being can be restored.
Your whole being, restored.
That is the promise for those who say yes to Jesus and graft themselves into the living vine, planted firmly in relationship with him, drawing life from the life-giver.
This is our decision to make, each and every one of us. One generation to the next, for as long as we continue to live in this season of grace. The same glad tidings are available to everyone who accepts. We have the choice to partake of the spoils of victory that Jesus secured on our behalf. It’s not something you inherit, it’s not something that someone else can decide for you. This is why God is described as the “God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob”, because each generation had a choice to make, and they chose well. Choose this day whom you will serve, and I pray that we all choose wisely.
The Apostle John continued describing the scene before the throne of heaven in Revelation. Perhaps the same angels who announced his birth in the night sky over Judea, were now singing praise for his ultimate triumph and the reclamation of all that was lost:
Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!” And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!” And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” and the elders fell down and worshiped. Revelation 5:11-14
May our hearts join them in worshiping our Lord Jesus this Christmas!