Sunday, December 14, 2014

Were the Angels kidding

Adam as a modern day angel
The land was occupied territory and zealots (today’s terrorist or freedom fighters) carried out guerrilla raids. So much political and religious corruption existed it made the faithful depressed. Surrounding nations and their leaders played the political power games for their own advantage whilst the common folk suffered.  Across the world today many can relate to the situation in Israel the night the angels sang.
Imagine those shepherds outside of Bethlehem minding the sheep. Those men were very low in the status ratings of the community and considered unreliable or unwanted witnesses in court. Sitting out there and on guard against animal and human predators was probably nerve wracking. Every strange noise could be magnified in their minds as a potential threat. Suddenly the night lights up and an angel appears soon surrounded by a host of others. Did they imagine their earthly days had come to an end?

It is easy to understand why the angel said “Fear not!” as he would have seen their stricken faces. However it is the following words which must have confused them even more. “I bring you good tidings of great joy”. Those men sure could do with some good news and lots of joy in their circumstances. Were they about to be given a map to buried treasure? Maybe they would be transformed into princes? How deflated they may have felt when the angels told them that the Saviour long promised through the lineage of King David had come. Well maybe not deflated but thrilled if they were men who longed for the promises of their Scriptures about the coming one.
How would the announcements of the angels actually work out in their life, the country’s experience and down to our day? For after the shepherds had seen the baby Jesus and spread the news not much joy flowed. Later King Herod who was becoming more and more deranged had infant boys of Bethlehem killed in his endeavour to destroy the baby Jesus. Tears, not joy flowed. Where was the joy, for the shepherds and the nation, during thirty silent years as Jesus grew to manhood? Did the angels wonder at what they said?

Maybe you, along with others, have similar wonderings as you sing carols and enjoy this Christmas time. You probably don’t wonder about the fact of the person called Jesus, but wonder about the joy promised. This is especially true if you have lived through abuse, poverty, war and injustices. How can the Joy promised at Jesus’ earthly arrival infect, affect and inject joy into your life?
The joy promised is bound up in the person and the accomplishments of Jesus. Not as the baby nor the boy but as the crucified and risen warrior Lord of Calvary. His joy was to do the Father’s will. His joy was to flesh out the promises of the Scriptures from Genesis to Malachi. His joy was to see you as putting your trust in Him as your personal Lord and Saviour. (Hebrews 12:1-3) How then can His joy be ours?

Regardless of your circumstances Jesus as the risen Christ (Messiah, Saviour) stands with you, keeps you as His own and has a place for you in His glory. You can find joy and peace in knowing God keeps His promises as recorded in the Scriptures. Sure they may seem a long time in coming but He has His time marked on the Calendar of Heaven, not earths’. His joy in you turns your pain into testimony to your faith that Jesus reigns. You know it by faith, it will one day be tangible. You may not realise it but His joy in you and for you creates a spiritual and moral fragrance that impacts those who enter your sphere of influence.

Story of Christmas as promised in Bible.
The angels weren’t kidding in their announcement that the world was about to be confronted with the Gospel (good news). Nor did they exaggerate that joy would pour out upon men and women around the globe who bowed the knee, not to the baby but to the promised one of Scripture who had come.

Regardless of your personal circumstances may the announcement by the angels be fulfilled in you! May the Joy of the Lord be your hope, delight, strength, comfort and song at this season and all through the year!

Copyright Ray Hawkins 2014.

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