And this shall be the sign unto you. Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in a manger. The birth of the King and you can find him in a manger. A place where animals are usually found. There was no room for Him at the inn. The world never has room for Jesus. Do not look for Him in majestic robes and fine linens. Do not look for Him in fancy rooms with posh accoutrements. Even when Isaiah prophesied about Him it was not about the things we value on this temporal coil:
Who has believed what he has heard from us? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted withgrief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. - Isaiah 53: 1-3 (ESV)
We esteemed him not. We are to come to Christ out of our desperate need for a Savior. Not because He attracts us with any of the trappings of this world. No, you will not find this King of Glory in the penthouse suite. You will find Him lying in a manger. Thank God for that.
As Linus concludes the reading from Luke we see a picture play out before us that we should scarce be able to take in. 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, good will toward men. Here is a portion from Gill's Exposition of the Bible to illuminate:
multitude, for the angels are innumerable; there are thousands, ten thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand of them: it may be rendered "the multitude", and may intend the whole company of angels, who were all of them together to sing the praises of God, and glorify him at the birth of the incarnate Saviour, as well as to adore him; since it is said, "when he bringeth in the first begotten into the world, he saith, and let all the angels of God worship him", Hebrews 1:6, and these were
Can we take this scene in? Ten thousand times ten thousand! The multitude! All of heaven singing praises to God! That is the proper scope of the event that takes place in the city of David. This is why we stop every December to remember. It was the defining moment in human history. So defining that the multitude of the heavenly host all came down to praise God for what He had just done. To reconcile back to Him His creation. The culmination of His plan spanning the entire Old Testament. Lying in the manger with the cross still ahead of Him is the Savior of the entire world and you want to preach about what life applications there might be in "It's a Wonderful Life?" Oh, but only after I get my kids picture taken sitting in Santa's lap? Talk about missing the forest for the trees! How pathetically sad.
Is there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about anymore? Anyone know that it is about giving all glory to God for bringing peace to an earth that had none? That man was heading towards an eternity separated from the God who created Him but no more! Now there is good will towards men! Good will! Good News! Unto us all a Savior is born! Hallelujah! Forget the movies and the gimmicks. Give me the Savior my sin sick soul needs. Give me abiding shepherds keeping watch over their flocks. Give me a healthy fear of the Lord that I might correctly fear if His glory shines all about me. Give me good tidings of great joy, which is for all people. Permanent joy as opposed to fleeting happiness. Give me a Savior in the city of David! Wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. I need Him! Give me the awesome spectacle of tens of thousands times tens of thousands all giving praise to God for bringing peace back to earth and extending His good will again toward men. Give me that! You can keep your schemes and marketing ploys. You can keep your fancy speeches and slick giveaways. Just give me the Gospel and it will be a very merry Christmas indeed. You do not need advanced degrees or public speaking classes. You just need the boldness of Linus.
Reverend Anthony Wade - December 11, 2014