Daily Advent Devotions from Church Street UMC
Wednesday, December 23, Morning
By Dr. Charles Wender
The Greatness of God’s Love
Read Luke 2:8-20
“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An Angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” When the angel had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.”
If pushed to respond, what would you say is the striking feature of this story? For me it is the tremendous excitement that jumps from the page as Luke tells us of the Nativity. It is much more than a simple narrative telling of the birth of the Christ Child. Shepherds are drawn into the story as well as an angel who is a member along with the heavenly host that praises God. This is no routine birth or birth announcement.
Why is this so special? This story involves us all and its application is universal. It does not deal with one person only, but deals with us all. How can this be? All of humanity traces its origin back to Adam and Eve at the beginning of human history. The Genesis account exposes their reliance on the word of Satan over that of God. As a result, they lost the Image of God on their souls. This image contained love, light, and life. Unless this image is restored, no one can go into God’s presence in eternity. Critical is the restoration of this image on the soul of the lost (everyone); otherwise we are separated from God for eternity.
Jesus, in a nighttime discussion with Nicodemus, informed him that a new birth of soul was necessary to be acceptable for admission into God’s presence in eternity. Nicodemus was the best of Hebrew society. A fundamental change of soul was necessary for him and all the rest of us. This change is only possible through faith in Jesus as God’s Son and the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world. Only a loving God could cause such to happen. We all need The Savior. There is only one. His name is Jesus. The most significant question for each one is, “Is He your Savior?”
“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
This devotion was written in honor of the Murphy Builders class.