Thought for the Week - 25th December

Pastor Gareth Watkins

Luke 2: 1-14

And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus
that all the world should be registered.
This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria.
So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.

Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea,
to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem,
because he was of the house and lineage of David,
to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child.
So it was, that while they were there,
the days were completed for her to be delivered.
And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths,
and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

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!”

I love this story!

The Archbishop of Canterbury wrote in his Christmas sermon that the values in society are wrongly placed.  He said we trust in economic and technical progress, which don’t bring happiness.  He said that true glory will only be found when we have trust in God.

We read this story all those years ago of family, cities, governments, census and rule.  We live in the same world today – a world of obedience to the law, taxes, and citizens of the country.  Still today we find uncertainty, division, misplaced value systems.  Mankind hasn’t changed in all those thousands of years.  The heart of man hasn’t changed and his condition hasn’t altered.

The Cardinal of England and Wales goes on to say how the world is falling apart.  Maybe it is. But the world isn’t without God.  He is still in it and He is still in control.  The world is in chaos because where our hearts are toward God.  If we don’t have our own heart after God, then our world will fall apart.  We don’t have to be in line with that world that the Archbishop and Cardinal speak of.  We can be in line with the world that God has brought into being!

In the middle of it all there is God, Christ and the Holy Spirit.  We read:

Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!

That peace and goodwill, and glorifying God comes to us.  It’s only through Christ that comes.  It’s only through the Word of God that we find that.  That’s what the angel spoke of 2000 years ago!

Where else can we find that peace?  We can only find that in God, through Christ.  That’s what the angel spoke of all those years ago.  We read “I bring you good tidings”.  Good news!  We can find peace, the glory and goodwill of God in amidst all the chaos.  God has called us!

How do we get to that place?  Sometimes we just have to stop what we’re doing.  We stop what we would do in ourselves, and instead find that God.  From there comes the strength to carry on.  We forget what a blessing it is to find that glory of God!  When people have no rest and nothing in life, to find that Glory of God and that peace is such a blessing.  That peace has come because Christ has come!  That peace has come for all mankind!

Just stop… and come to God.  The devil can whip us with chains, but if we come to Him and find that glory of God, we find Christ, His blessing, His love and His protection.  That’s what happens when we stop still to find Him.

Christ makes these things available, but the world can’t see it.  The world wants to continue living as they want.  But you have been called by name to come.  The shepherds weren’t there by accident, they were pre-appointed.  You are pre-appointed. We give glory, we find that rest, that blessing and all those things God has got for us.

Can we put our values in the right place ourselves?  No we can’t.  Can we sort out our own uncertainties?  No we can’t.  Can we stop ourselves getting hurt and wounded by the world?  No we can’t.  But we can come to One who will give us the glory, who will cover our uncertainties, and we can come to One with who our wounds will be healed. We can stop and say glory to God in the Highest.

The shepherds went from that place and glorifying and praising God for all the things they’d heard and seen. Much more was given to those shepherds after they went back.  They came thinking one thing, but after they met God a whole load of other things were given to them.  We are the same.  After we stop and come to God, a whole load of other things come our way.  Be encouraged, God is with us.  He has a lot for us.  There is nothing the world can give us that can replace what He can give.


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