There are so many phrases that one hears only at Christmastime. Phrases like; joy to the world, O little town of Bethlehem, and there’s no place like home for the holiday. As I heard the carol, O Come all ye faithful being sung the other day, one particular phrase struck me as though I was listening to it for the first time. “Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing.” These words remind us of the hope and the promise of Advent. It is more than gift exchanges, punch, and cookies, stockings, eggnog, trees, and tinsel. Behind all the glowing candles and twinkling lights stands an even brighter light, the Light of the World, Jesus Christ. Though the world may debate who He was and what is coming meant, for the believer, there can be no doubt. Others will assign him the tag ‘good teacher, moral leader or religious leader. The testimony of Scripture is that He is the Son of God the Messiah, the Anointed One come to redeem us from our sin. The coming of Christ is excellent news of great joy. Though surrounded by supernatural angelic announcers He was born in the lowliest of conditions namely a barn-like shed with animals and straw. He was visited by the marginalized of society the shepherds who moments before had been watching their sheep as they did every evening. Shepherds were considered outsiders because their work meant they were most of the time ceremonially unclean and therefore unable to be around religious people. God does His best work at the margins. One of the side notes, be it a significant side note: Jesus loves the outcast, the unclean, the marginalized.
It is true today; God does His best work on the margins. If you are not convinced that this is true, look at your own story! Better yet, look at the ministry of Jesus. Gentiles, women, lepers, and the lame. He embraced children, and the broken and welcomed them all gladly. He embodied the truth of John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life”.
Whosoever is a Christmas word! He did not come for those living in palaces only, He came for those living in public parks as well. He did not come only for those who were expecting Him; He came to those who had lost all expectation of hope. He came not only to those who were in the right places; He went to those who found themselves in places they never imagined and offered them, Hope.
There are a lot of things in short supply in our world today, but none more scarce than hope. If you hope in money, it may run out. If your faith is in people, they may run out as well. If your hope is in politicians, we pray they will run out! The only hope in and for this world 2000 years later is the same message of hope delivered to Shepherds keeping watch over their flocks by night: “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.
In a frightening world, we hear the announcement, “Do Not Be Afraid!” Do not let fear be Lord of your life, let Jesus be the Lord of your life! The end of the angelic announcement states these two words, “the Lord.”
Allow Him to be Lord of your life! That is the message of Advent! Merry Christmas