Revelation 22:12-13 “Listen! I am coming soon! I will bring my reward with me, and I will repay each one of you for what you have done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.”
Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, and the Wiseman all had a personal journey to share that led them down the road to Christmas, a road to Jesus. When I think about their stories, I have found a new way to look at Christmas. It’s not just about the celebration of Jesus’ birth and what His coming brought to all Christians. It’s about the journey to Jesus. On that night and shortly after each person was introduced, it was not to Christmas, but to Jesus.
For Mary and Joseph their road was exceedingly difficult. A virgin having a baby, a man taking her, in even though the child was not his. Throughout the year I am sure they faced many hardships, challenges, and unfair treatment. The gossip, the ridicule, the family ties that were probably broken. But they trusted and believed God, their relationship with God helped them through those times and their road led them to Jesus that night in the barn. A story and life that would follow them the rest of their days. A relationship that would carry them through the cross and pain they had to watch Jesus endure. But a light that would lead them to salvation.
Being a shepherd was a difficult job. Looked down upon by others, treated as poor beggars. They already knew hardship and struggles. But their night with the Angels that led them to Jesus probably forever changed their lives as well. What a story to tell that the Good Shepherd of the sheep was first seen by lowly shepherds of Bethlehem. The shepherds now felt they had a special place in God’s eyes. After all, Abel was a shepherd, David was a shepherd, and Moses was a shepherd. The shepherds were the ones to get the first glimpse of the very One, who later says, “I am the Good Shepherd, the Good Shepherd gives His life for the sheep (John 10:11). Jesus, the One who John the Baptist would one day say, “Behold the Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world.”
The promise of the nativity is God’s gift to us. The gift of HOPE and JOY, PEACE and LOVE, JUSTICE and MERCY. For hundreds of years God had been making promises to His people. He had promised a Prince, a Shepherd, a Healer, a Conqueror, a Prophet, a Priest, a Lion, a Lamb. He had promised Peace. He had promised Freedom. He had promised Love and Life without end. Finally, in the blackness of the night in a stable, the promise came wrapped up as a baby named Jesus.
In the year 2020 we have all seen and faced difficulties that none of us have ever been through before. The struggles are real, the hardships are here, a new way of living has been thrown at us. There are those dying or getting terribly ill, those who are full of hate and anger. Some are fighting an unknown depression they have never felt before. Joy is being stripped from homes, and hearts are burdened with sadness, frustration, and uncertainty. Fear has entered and God has been pushed aside. How in all this unknown, can the road to Christmas find meaning?
But it is not the road to Christmas. Amid all this turmoil we can hold onto that promise sent so long ago. Jesus came to identify with us as a human, like us. From that day forward in all circumstances faced, God became a human to reconcile all people to Himself.
After facing 2020 I believe Christmas is a reminder about possibility amid the impossible. It is not the kind of possibility that comes from our own skills, knowledge, ability, or a positive attitude. It is possibility that solely comes from the fact that God is God. Christmas is not only about the birth of Jesus but our road to Jesus. Believing that God will be with His people, His church, and with us individually as we live as His people in the world.
No matter what we go through when we journey with Jesus at our side, we will one day overcome this world with salvation. A promise given to us at the cross. Travel the road to Jesus with me. Seek the Light in your life, the Good Shepherd and don’t let 2020 leave you in darkness. As we ring in the New Year let us all make room for Jesus and eagerly await with hope and joy the day when the Son of Righteousness shall arise with healing in His wings and the song will be re-echoed by us all, “Glory to God in the highest, peace and goodwill toward men.”
Have a blessed and happy holiday and we will see you in the new year 2021!
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