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The Journal

The story of Christmas is reliable

All Souls

Dear Friends,

Christmas is a reminder that the essential reason we can know God is that He reveals Himself to us. We learn in the 1 Corinthians 1:21 that we cannot know God through our own wisdom or reasoning. In the story before us today God sends His angel to tell the shepherds about the birth of Jesus. This announcement is extraordinary because there is a great company of angels who give praise to God.

The angels in heaven cannot contain themselves because they are amazed at how God has humbled Himself and come earth to rescue sinful humanity. This speaks of God’s great power being displayed in weakness. What is wonderful about the shepherds is that their response in 2:15 to the angels is to decide to go and check this out for themselves. Luke is careful to let us know that the shepherds found everything just as the angel had said 2:20. God is reliable and can be trusted to keep His Word. This should build confidence that our faith is based on the reliable historical witness of people like the shepherds who testify that God keeps His word and can be trusted. The shepherds are like the angels of heaven in the sense that they cannot contain this good news and must find others to tell. Luke tells us in 2:17 that they spread the word concerning what they had been told about the child and had seen. The birth of Jesus has also profoundly impacted Mary. Not only is there the joy of giving birth to a child but she is learning more about this child Jesus. We are taught in the 2:19 that she treasures all these things in her heart and ponders them. Mary also like the shepherds is an example of faith to emulate. She understands that what God is doing is a precious and a special gift not only to her but to all the world. She doesn’t take the significance of the Christ child for granted. She treasures what God has done and this leads her to ponder these things in heart. She reflects on them to understand them further and their significance for her and the world. God wants to build depth and robustness in our faith. This requires reflection on the truth and applying it to our lives and acting on what we learn and know. This Christmas God is wanting a response from us that is like the shepherds. We are to go and confirm this Christmas story for ourselves. We can’t go to Bethlehem but the Bible is God’s eyewitness account of what He has done and as we read the Scriptures we will be convinced of the truth of God’s Word because we know that Luke is a historian  (Luke 1:1-4) who has written the truth as told by eyewitnesses so Theophilus and we can be certain. Further when we act on the truth of the Scripture through faith we will find that our own faith grows (Romans 10:17). This passage is an incredible passage because we learn that the angel explains the meaning of the birth of Jesus – He is the Saviour, Messiah and Lord of the world. At Christmas we findGodwrappedinababyandtheangelsunwrapthemeaningforus–2:11. Whenthemessageof Jesus’ birth and its meaning grips us we understand that Jesus is good news and this brings great joy to us and the world. A God who is close and loves us !

God’s richest blessing Rev David O’Mara (minister@allsouls.net.au) Facebook All Souls