Advent 4 - Peace
It seemed as any ordinary night in the field outside Bethlehem. The shepherd guarded their sheep, accounting for each one, surveying the fields perimeter for stragglers and preparing for what seemed to be an ordinary night. No sooner had they finished their rounds when the heavens filled with a glorious display of hosts proclaiming the birth of the Messiah!
Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger." And 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, goodwill toward men!" Luke 2:8-14 NKJV
“Born this night?”
“Could this be the One, as the rabbis have taught?”
“In the tower stall?”
These Levitical shepherds would have known exactly where the Messiah could be found. There was no searching. The Scriptures foretold where the shepherd king of Israel would be born. The place where all pascal, first born male lambs were born, examined for imperfections, then wrapped in cloth, Migdal Eder. (See last week's post, Advent Week 3) The place where earlier a young couple had sought shelter when all the guest rooms in town were occupied. The king who would bring peace as the rabbis had said, so small, seemingly insignificant in their tower, the Baby in their manger, the Messiah. Christ was the perfect pascal sacrifice, to be the atonement for the sins of the world, born in a stall then wrapped in cloth, the Lamb of God.
So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, "Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us." And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them. Luke 2:8-20 NKJV
The shepherds "came with haste" to see the Messiah. They marveled at the fulfillment of the promises long taught from Scriptures. The Messiah had come, a King, to save them from the harsh oversight of the government, to bring peace to all people.
The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned. For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this. Isaiah 9:2, 6-7 NIV
The Savior of the world has come. The shepherds saw the Great Light who brings light to a dark world. The Prince of Peace came as the prophets fortold. The Father's plan to redeem a lost world was coming true. After seeing the babe, the shepherds shared their excitement, because how could they contain such good news? Did everyone who heard the story believe? Probably not, but the shepherds gave glory and praise to Yehweh for "all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them."
"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
“You heard me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.
I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe." John 14:27-29 NIV
Our Father has and will fulfill each promises of hope, love, joy and peace. How can we not tell those we come in contact with about the marvelous saving knowledge that our Prince of Peace, the Messiah has come? Are we too busy with our task that we haven't noticed His Presence bidding us to come? Where is our "great joy?" Has the hustle and bustle to put packages under our Christmas tree closed our hearts to the "glory of the Lord" all around us?
Jesus Christ, our Savior is our Savior, Messiah, hope of all people, full of love for a lost world, bringing joy and providing unexplainable peace in the midst of the burdens of this world. If we will run with haste, personally seeking Him, we can experience the marvelous site even now. Elohim has sent His Son to be the light of the World if we are willing to trust and believe. Until we kneel in awe at the side of a manger, we will never understand the depth of our LORD's gifts to us. How can we not proclaim the wonder, to make His Presence "widely known?"
Holy Abba, Father, You have provided salvation for a lost world through Yeshuah ha Messiach, Jesus the Messiah. We once lived in darkness, but His Light has overcome the world. May we fully comprehend the Your love, hope, joy and peace so we may unapologetically spread the good news to the world around us. Thank you for sending Your Son and Rauch ha Kodesh, Holy Spirit to provide the peace which surpasses all understanding. In our hurried, chaotic dark world we need You to be our Peace when life spins out of control. Help us to stop, look to the sky and anticipate when our LORD will come again, this time in full glory and splendor for all to see. We worship and praise Your Holy Name. Amen.