Christmas is full of traditions; whether we have an artificial or real tree? The decorations we put outside, the meat we eat on Christmas day, when we open the presents, family we visit on particular days. It's an exciting time, full of anticipation.
We recently purchased a new tree, a 7 foot one we found in a garden centre with 50% off, perfect to replace the 5ft tree my wife had been desperate to get rid of. I ventured into my first experience of putting outdoor lights up, I'd always tried to avoid this potential DIY catastrophe, but I couldn't deny my 3 and 4-year-old the delight of seeing 'rainbow Christmas lights' outside their house as they so keenly asked for.
It's been great to see their excitement every time they proudly tell people about 'their Christmas decorations', and how annoyed they get if people don't notice them! They can't wait to tell people and point out to them the very thing they are excited about.
You see, good news is too good to keep to ourselves. When something good happens in our lives, we want to tell people about it – it's the natural order. And as Christians, we have the best news of all time to share with people – that Jesus entered into our world, to become like one of us, in order to be the perfect sacrifice for the sin in our lives.
A group of lowly shepherds were among the first to meet the baby born in a manger (Luke 2:8-20). After a visit from an angel, and then as if that wasn't enough, a vast host of angels, they went to find the Messiah who had been born. They were told they would recognise him by this sign, "You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger".
You would expect the Saviour, a King, to be born in a palace. But put yourself in the Shepherds sandals for a moment, would that have excited them? Probably not. If an angel had come and said 'hey guys, go and visit the Messiah in the Kings Palace', I think they'd have laughed at the very thought of being welcomed anywhere near a palace, let alone being allowed inside one!
These guys couldn't relate to a throne, marble floors, the pomp of a palace. And that's not how Jesus arrived, he came to be like the shepherds, born in a smelly stable.
He came to be like you and me. God Himself has come to earth, to live among us, in our own flesh and blood, the highest has been made the lowest for us. That means we have a Saviour who knows our struggles. This good news we have is relevant to everyone. Jesus knew what it was like to be misunderstood, He experienced people let him down, He was betrayed by one of his closest friends, He went through grief and loss – one of His family was beheaded!
Next time you go through a difficult time in life, remember you have a Saviour who knows what that feels like.
That’s good news because we are able to point people to Jesus, not as a Saviour who can’t relate to us, but as someone who has gone through trouble and can relate to our difficult seasons.
The Shepherds did exactly that after finding Jesus just as the angels said they would, lying in a manger. They went off and told everyone what had happened, and 'all who heard the shepherds' story were astonished'.
This good news we have, is too good to keep to ourselves. Christmas is a unique opportunity to invite people along to our Christmas events, let's be bold, and unselfish, because there is a world out there in desperate need of some good news. We have the good news, and it’s too good to keep to ourselves.
Who knows, they might just be 'astonished' when they see the change Jesus has made in our lives.