“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 among those with whom he is pleased!’” (Luke 2:13-14).
So, what is the tune you are singing today? Perhaps it is Elvis’ “Blue Christmas.” We often tend to build toward huge events that set the stage for normal events to be somewhat deflating. Once the fun and excitement are over, then what? Oh, we might coast along for a few days so that we can ramp up for the New Year celebration. But the mundane will be here soon. What do we do then?
In today’s passage from Luke’s telling of the Christmas story, we eavesdrop on an important declaration from the angels announcing Christ’s birth. As they praised God, they remind us of an all-important truth. Because Jesus was born, men have the opportunity for peace and favor from God.
The good news of Christmas did not end in a stable in Bethlehem. Instead, it was the beginning of an epic true story that would be played out now for over two thousand years! Jesus came, in an unassuming and humble way. He came in the tender state of a newborn. But the entirety of the promise of Messiah was present in the manger. Mankind just had to wait patiently as the story unfolded for over 30 years.
After their glorious meeting with this newborn King, life resumed as normal for the wise men. The monotony of life in the field continued for the shepherds. Simeon and Anna went back to their everyday lives. Yet all of them were strengthened by the promise that they had witnessed. Joseph and Mary alone experienced the permanent change in their lives. But the truth of his miraculous birth and majestic reign were yet a reality in the uneventful normalcy that defined most of his next 30 years.
Life happens in the valleys between the highpoints of life. Most of life is lived in the everyday humdrum of the ordinary. But none of these tangible realities can touch the intangible truth that the Messiah has come. And because he was born and lived a sinless life and offered up his perfect sacrifice as an atonement for our sin, we can enjoy the peace of God and peace with God. Oh, but it does not end there! We now walk in his favor, his goodwill, every day of our lives! Jesus is Immanuel, God with us! He came and was not received by his own. But he was received by the shepherds, and the remnant who awaited his coming, and even the pagan Magi. As John reminds us, “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:12-13).
So, are you singing “Blue Christmas today? Are you experiencing the post-Christmas let down? “Get up to a high mountain, O Zion, herald of good news; lift up your voice with strength, O Jerusalem, herald of good news; lift it up, fear not; say to the cities of Judah, ‘Behold your God!’” (Isa. 40:9).