What are we celebrating this season? What is it really about? For Christ’s children and those HE is calling to be His; WE celebrate His arrival. ADVENT / ARRIVAL: The coming of the Messiah.
It is the beginning of The Incarnation, the arrival on Earth of ‘The Prince of Peace’. We [Who God’s favors rests on] place our HOPE in the Prince of PEACE. We [Christ’s Body] have JOY because of the Prince of PEACE.
The actual PEACE… the SHALOM is what WE celebrate. The Hebrew word we translate as ‘Peace’ is Shalom. The fullness of what is means is not just a lack of conflict…It is a state of being where everything is as it should be, the way it started out. What Shalom encompasses is: How things are meant to be between us and God.
Perfect Shalom existed in the garden before Adam & Eve disobeyed God. Once sin came between mankind and God, that perfect shalom ceased to exist. God used the Law of Moses to demonstrate that humanity could not create shalom. We could not make things the way they should be, only God could… [HE did]
The birth of the Christ Child was & still is God’s declaration of PEACE to us. This morning it is our privilege & responsibility to glorify God for the gift of Shalom.
Setting the stage; Luke 2:1-7
At that time a proclamation was made by Caesar Augustus that all the inhabited world should be registered. This was the first census, undertaken while Qurenius was governor of Syria and everybody went to the town of his birth to be registered.
Joseph went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to David’s town, Bethlehem, in Judea, because he was a direct descendant of David, to be registered with his future wife, Mary, now in the later stages of her pregnancy.
So it happened that it was while they were there in Bethlehem that she came to the end of her time. She gave birth to her first child, a son. And as there was no place for them inside the inn, she wrapped him up and laid him in a manger.
8 In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened.
- In the area of Bethlehem, outside the city [I have been there]
- Massive fear: they knew this was God & they knew things were not as they should be between them & God [need to sacrifice their best stuff]
- If you are not at peace with God, His Glory is frightening
10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; 11 for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
- The message was: you don’t have to fear what God is doing
- The news would result in JOY, not just happiness
- The joy comes from getting a Savior / The Messiah / God Himself
- The connection of David is important based on the scripture
- The uniqueness of this event will be authenticated by the unique birth deal
- First there is one angel, then ‘A Great Multitude’
- The angel’s communication has both worship and information
- 1st God is glorified in this ‘arrival’ of the Messiah
- 2nd they declare the ‘New Covenant’ where God make peace favored people
- The Messiah will bring shalom to those who God is pleased with [Grace]
- God’s messengers declared the end of ‘Fear Based’ relationship with God
15 When the angels had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying to one another, “Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us.”
- They must have been stunned for a minute!
- Very quickly the reality of what had happened moved them to action
- Revelation made them seek more revelation [seeking the truth]
16 So they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger. 17 When they had seen this, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child.
- They didn’t wait to seek God
- It could not have been very hard to find the Christ Child
- They don’t just stay there looking at the Baby, they broadcast the Good News
- They told anyone who would listen what God had told them
18 And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 The shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them.
- People may have not understood the deal but EVERYONE wondered…
- The Shepherd’s message had IMPACT [true revelation changes people]
- Mary treasured the information because she connected it with previous info
- The Angel & the visit to Elisabeth
- The shepherds returned to their normal life but having found the means of peace with their maker
- Theirs lives are now lives of worship based on the revelation of God’s peace
THE GOSPEL Is the offer of Perfect Shalom to you from God
Steps to Shalom:
Start by recognizing that all of us start in a state of conflict with God because of sin.
Embrace the reality that God alone initiates the end of enmity between us by coming to us Himself!
Know that Christ’s coming was the culmination of God’s plan to bring salvation to all peoples through His ‘chosen people’.
The ultimate glorification of God comes from His coming to us to make peace.
The response to the revelation of God’s salvation results in the intentionally sharing of that revelation.
The advent of Shalom changes the world and those who God enables to believe it will treasure that gift by the way they live.
Are you convinced of your original state of being at war with God because of YOUR sin?
Do you fully believe that it is God who initiates and completes Shalom through the advent of Christ?
Are you active in the seeking and the sharing of Shalom with God, giving Him glory?
Have you put the pieces of what God has revealed to you together so that you treasure the Gift of Shalom with God through Christ?