One of my favourite parts of the Christmas story comes in verses 8 to 14 of our reading today. Angels appeared in the night sky above Bethlehem and amazed some shepherds looking after their sheep. When those angels appeared to the shepherds, they brought them great news about a great present, the best Christmas present ever. A gift from God. This is what the first angel said: “‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is the Christ, the Lord.”
But what does that message mean? I’ve got three Christmas presents for me here. Can someone help me open them?
1. Exactly what they wanted – a perfect King!
A Star Wars DVD! That’s just what I wanted! I love Star Wars and this was on my list! Its exactly what I asked for.
When the angels spoke to the Shepherds, they said God was giving them the present they wanted – a perfect king. The shepherds and all God’s people wanted a perfect King. A king superior to Caesar and holier than Herod. A ruler who would be loving, kind, and honest. A king who would guide them and teach them right and wrong. A king they could follow forever. We all want someone to trust, a sure guide to life, and to God. That God-given King is Jesus. His second name – Christ – means king!
2. More than they expected – the Lord, God’s Son!
My next present is a Christmas card from Granny! She sends me a card every year, she’s very kind. But look, there is a £10 note inside! I wasn’t expecting that! That’s more than I was hoping for from her!
The angels told the shepherds that God’s present of Jesus was also more than they were hoping for. Because Jesus wasn’t just a human being. He was God’s Son! God wasn’t giving them any old person to be their king – he was sending his Son. At the first Christmas God’s own beloved Son was sent into the world. The Son of God who has existed forever, who was around when the world was made. The one threw stars into space, the one who put the bang into the big bang!
God’s Son was born at Christmas, what an unexpected present! It must have blown the minds of those shepherds, and it blows my mind today! Totally unexpected!
3. Just what they needed – a Saviour from sin!
My last present is a baby-grow! Just what Helen and I need with a baby on the way! Perfect.
The angels told the shepherds that Jesus is just what they needed, the first Christmas. In fact he’s just what the world needs today. Jesus was sent to be the Saviour we all need. A Saviour bringing us the forgiveness we all need. A Saviour from what we’ve done wrong. A Saviour to make us God’s forgiven friends forever. Christmas came before the Cross. The Cross where Jesus the grown-up died for our forgiveness.
No wonder the Bible says he’s the best Christmas gift ever! So why don’t we receive him as God’s gift. Let’s follow him as our King. Let’s worship him as God’s Son. And let’s trust him as the Saviour from sin we all need.
Let me pray: Heavenly Father, thank you for giving us Jesus, the greatest Christmas gift ever. Thank you that he’s exactly what we want, exactly what we need, and even more than we could ever expect. Amen.