A Sign For You (Advent 2012 – Day 6)

flinks-angels-anouncing-the-birth-of-christ-to-the-shepherds

Today’s Scripture:

“And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths 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!” —Luke 2:12–14

When the shepherds were tending their flock at night there is not way that they expected a visit from the heavenly hosts! Can you immagine what it must have been like to see the skys open up and a heavenly choir immerges singing praise?  It surely must have been quite a sight, and how strange a message they delivered. The Messiah had come, but he would be found in a manger. Had this message not been delivered in such a divine and shocking manner I’m sure the shepherds must have thought this a mistake. Why would the savior be born in a barn?

I think it’s interesting that God first revealed the birth of the savior to some low class shepherds. It was not the Pharisees or Kings, but mere shepherds who would be the first to visit the new born king. This would not be the first or the last time that God would turn people’s expectations on their heads by doing what is essentially the opposite of what was expected. The God that called an elderly man to father a nation, a slave to lead Egypt, and a young boy to slay a giant now comes to earth being born in a barn and visited by shepherds.

Also notice that Christ did not come to bring “peace on earth and good will to men” as the Christmas carols would lead us to believe. Of course Christ was the Prince of Peace, but there were no illusions that Christ’s coming was going to be a peaceful one. The road ahead was full of opposition and strife. As Simeon would later predict Christ would lead to the rising and falling of many. He would challenge the way society saw worth in people and come to establish the Kingdom of God. In Christ’s own words he knew this to be true:

“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” – Matthew 10:34

Peace is coming to those with whom he is pleased, and those who pleased the Lord were far from what was expected.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
 Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
 Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
 Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
 Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
 Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

– Matthew 5:3-10

Christ’s coming was a glorious thing. It was the moment when the promises that had existed since the time of Abraham would be fulfilled and the turning point where the world began to shift into the era of fulfilled promises. God’s covenant relationship with man would be made complete in Christ and a new covenant would be given through him. This change did not come easy, there was and still is much pain and suffering that follows those who follow the way of the Lord. Let us not lose hope for as the angel’s said, there is peace among those whom he is pleased.

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