Two of the most beautiful truths of the Christmas story are how light and praise always precede the mention of Jesus, a babe born in a barn and laid – wrapped in swaddling cloths – in a manger.
After Jesus’ birth, we find shepherds watching their flocks in Luke 2:8. Now, look closer. “An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them…” (verse 9) How beautiful that the announcement of Christ’s birth was declared by light, the very reason He came to Earth- as light. In 2:10 Luke recalls how the angels told the shepherds why Jesus came and how to identify him: “A Savior has been born…You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Imagine. A King born in a dirty stable and wrapped in humble swaddling cloths. When the shepherds traveled to Bethlehem and saw for themselves what God had promised, they “spread the word.. and returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.”
Light. Praises. Promises everlasting.
Matthew 2 offers another vibrant perspective of the Christmas story and guess what the two consistent avenues are pointing toward Jesus? Light and praise. Magi searched for the king of the Jews, saying, “We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” As they followed the star, it went “ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was.” What a powerful symbol of light the star served as it led the Magi to Christ. When they neared, they were overwhelmed and “bowed down and worshiped him,” offering Jesus gifts. Praises and gifts for a baby who had yet to demonstrate his power, but simply rested in the tender arms of his mother.
Jesus, as a babe, didn’t perform or prove or speak. His birth was the catalyst to each character’s response of worship. The mere mention of Jesus attracts hope-seekers. For where He is, people are drawn out of darkness and into light. He makes miracles from the unexplainable.
He was found by light to be light. His being beckoned praise from stranger’s mouths. Where is He inviting you out of darkness and shining light on His real presence? Where can you offer praise for the hope of what will come, even if the pieces leading up to it make no sense?
May every twinkle of the Christmas story reflect Jesus our Savior during this hopeful holiday.
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Discuss: Where is He inviting you out of darkness and shining light on His real presence? Where can you offer praise for the hope of what will come, even if the pieces leading up to it make no sense?
Pray: Lord, you very presence is the reason for the entire Christmas story. How are we going to react? Lord, we a ready. We believe. Amen.