A. Ray Lee ss

A divine birth announcement

By A. Ray Lee

Columnist

The darkness of night had settled over the little town of Bethlehem and its surrounding fields and pastures. Shepherds had gathered their sheep into protective folds and dozed around the fading embers of their fires as they waited for the dawn to break. The stars shone brightly in a cloudless sky.

Suddenly the stars were eclipsed by the brightness of a celestial glory as an angel of the Lord appeared unto the shepherds with an announcement from heaven. “I bring you good tidings of great joy! For unto you is born this day in the city of David a savior which is Christ the Lord. And you shall find the baby wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.” In response, a heavenly choir sang “glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men.”

It will forever remain the greatest birth announcement of all time. In awe of what they had heard and seen the shepherds left their flocks and set out to find the baby. In their search, they did not seek a royal palace with a prepared nursery where an infant would have been sleeping blanketed in luxurious baby garments. Instead, they were guided to a stable where a newborn babe wrapped in swaddling clothes was sleeping upon a bed of straw in a manger.

Joy filled the hearts of the shepherds when they came into the presence of the holy child. The wonder of the moment must have caused them to bow in worship. Upon departing they could not keep what they had heard and experienced to themselves. Luke tells us they became the first witnesses of Jesus as they shared the story abroad. What a life-changing experience! They could not remain silent with the good news.

The birth of Jesus forever brings joy to the hearts of those who have longed for his coming. His birth continues to be a gift to all who receive his presence into their lives.

The apostle John reminds us that “God so loved that He gave.” Jesus is that gift-a gift of joy that makes the heart sing with gladness. He is the embodiment of God’s love and grace. He brings hope for the present and future for those who despair under the weight of the cares and troubles in life. In him are desires fulfilled. His own testimony is found in his words: “I am come that ye might have life and have it more abundantly.”

There is no greater gift than that which God has given. Come let us adore him! Let him be Christ the Lord in your life.

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