It’s the Christmas season. Radio stations filled with music of the season. Stores filled with decorations. Homes decorated with various expressions of Christmas. But have you ever stopped to think about what a “breakthrough” that Christmas Eve really was?
Luke describes in a few words one of the most amazing breakthroughs in human history.Luke 2:8-20 (NLT)
That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.” Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying, “Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.” When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished, but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often. The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them.
I wonder sometimes what it was like on the “other side of the veil” as the hosts of heaven watched the Second Person of the Trinity be born as a human being. I wonder about the anticipation in the heavenly realms as the angels prepared to make that glorious announcement to the shepherds.
God had a presence with humans before. It was the way it was supposed to be in the beginning. God and Adam and Eve walking together in the Garden, enjoying one another’s company. But rebellion and sin erected a barrier between God and man, and only God could cross from time to time in the form of the Shekinah Glory. In the pillar of cloud that lead Israel through the desert. The Glory of God on top of Mount Sinai displaying His majesty to all of Israel. The Shekinah Presence in the Tabernacle and later the Temple of Solomon. But these were transcendent, “otherness” appearances.
Now, the creator of all things, who simply spoke and everything came into being, the One who holds all of creation together… He was now formed in the womb of a human mother, and born not in a palace in Jerusalem, but a stable in Bethlehem. And the announcement was made to shepherds… low class working stiffs.
An ordinary nights work, suddenly became the breakthrough of God into human existence forever. The barrier was breached, and nothing would ever be the same again.
The King of Heaven’s armies invaded earth in the form of a helpless baby, and human destiny was forever altered. The loving heart of God had made the ultimate declaration of love.
Christmas was a breakthrough, and the message of Christmas continues to desire to break through into our lives, into our destinies, into our hearts, into our view of self, and life, and eternity. Will you hear the message and rush to respond as did those shepherds of long ago? Christ the Messiah awaits your response.