December 24, Saturday

REPOST  Today’s AMI QT Devotional, written by Pastor Andrew Kim, was originally posted on December 24, 2016.  Andrew is presently pastoring Alive Church in Montreal.  He and his wife Jessie are the proud parents of two young boys. 

Spiritual Food for Thought for the Weekend

“A Christmas Surprise: ‘You Said That to Who?’”

Luke 2:8-20 

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. [9] And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great 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 Savior, who is Christ the Lord. [12] And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” [13] And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, [14] “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” [15] When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” [16] And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. [17] And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. [18] And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. [19] But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. [20] And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

In order to fully understand the meaning of Christmas, we have to become familiar with Israel’s story. Around the time of Jesus’ birth, the people of Israel had been in a posture of waiting for some time—looking forward to the day when God would liberate them from pagan oppression through a show of military might. It would be a time where sinners would be judged and the righteous saved. To put it in another way, they were expecting God to usher in a kingdom characterized by judgment and power. But what the story of Christmas teaches us is that these expectations needed to be reshaped and realigned. 

Here in our passage, we read a story that we usually glance over without giving it a second thought. But if read carefully, we find something profound happening here. Isn’t it interesting that the news of the coming Messiah is given to a group of shepherds and not the religious leaders? You see, shepherds were people of ill-repute who were known as thieves who belonged at the bottom of society’s totem pole. For this reason, they were extremely despised by others. And yet, they are the first ones, outside of Jesus’ family, to receive the good news about Jesus from the angel. Think about this for a second.  This is like Jesus coming back into our world and sending angels first to a brothel or the slums before going to your church. This was entirely unexpected and shocking!  

But this story tells us something very important about God and the type of kingdom He was ushering in through the birth of Jesus. It was not a kingdom only reserved for the righteous or the morally upright, but a kingdom that came for people just like the shepherds—those who were lowly and readily aware of their brokenness and sin. And this is undeniable. We see Jesus running after these types of people all throughout His ministry—prostitutes, tax collectors, every type of sinner you can imagine. You see, it was a kingdom of grace and mercy—not one of military might and condemnation. This is precisely why the angels announced the coming of Christ to the shepherds. God sent His Son for people just like them.  Today, as we wait for Christmas morning, let us reflect on this truth and thank God that He has shown mercy to sinners like us! 

Prayer: Father, I thank You that You are full of mercy and grace. Help me to gain a deeper understanding of Your grace in my life and to rejoice in that I am loved despite my brokenness and sins. Amen. 

Bible Reading for Today: Matthew 1-2

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