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“Today a Saviour is born”

December 25, 2012


And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock 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 fear. 10 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. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord.”

This account of the angels appearing to the shepherds at the time of Christ’s birth has become quite a well known part of the bible. It’s a classic for reading in a Christmas Carol Service or for a nativity play at a school assembly. However I wonder if it’s familiarity makes it easy to ignore what is actually being said.

The angel here is telling the shepherds that he has good news of great joy for all the people, and that good news was that a Saviour has been born.

The point of Christmas is not just that Jesus Christ was born, but that God came down to save us.

In Luke chapter 19 Jesus says in  “I came to seek and save the lost”, In the gospel of Matthew chapter 20 Jesus says that He “…came to give His life as a ransom for many,” Jesus did this, so we read in 1 Timothy 2 because He desires all men to be saved.

You could describe the original message of Christmas in two parts, part 1 – we need saving, part 2 – Jesus came to save.

Part 1: We Need Saving

This is often why the gospel ends up being offensive to people. We don’t like being told that we need saving, we like to think of ourselves as being pretty sorted…but we’re not.

ScroogeThis actually reminds me of a famous Christmas novel; ‘A Christmas Carol’, written by Charles Dickens. You probably know the story well, Ebenezer Scrooge is a miserable character who despite his wealth persists in cruelty to those in need. He is confronted by the ghost of his dead colleague (Jacob Marley) who tells him that he needs to change or face the same fate that he has. Jacob appears in shackles and Scrooge asks why.

Jacob says the following:

“I wear the chain I forged in life,” replied the Ghost. “I made it link by link, and yard by yard; I girded it on of my own free will, and of my own free will I wore it.  

Charles Dickens discusses a very specific human behaviour here; that of greed and cruelty, but the point remains relevant for all of us:

The choices we make today will impact on our eternity

Interestingly enough, for a lot of us the Christmas season, despite being the time of joy and goodwill, actually reminds us of how our lives are littered with heartache and difficulty. It’s against this backdrop of expected happiness that we become more acutely aware of broken relationships, past regrets, addictions, loneliness and poverty.

It’s at this time of year that perhaps we are more likely to notice that actually we walk around with shackles on our hands and feet.

Part 2: Jesus Came to Save

The angels’ news was considered good because Jesus Christ had arrived as the Saviour that mankind needed.

“Mild He lays, His glory by, born that man no more may die.”

Jesus lived everyday without sinning, meaning that He was the only one who could save us. And how did He save us?

He took our place, He was our substitute!

LThe thing about Christmas is that it’s all about Easter. Jesus’ birth is all about His death.

Our wrongdoing deserves punishment, how can a God who is committed to justice remain just and yet protect us from harm?

By sending His son, to die in our place.

By putting your trust in Jesus Christ’s life, death and resurrection today you can know what it means to meet Jesus as your Saviour.

“Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord.”

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