The angels announced His birth
No vacancy. The inn was full. No place inside for these expectant travelers to rest. The only space available was in the stable. It was there that Mary brought forth Jesus. It was there she swaddled him and laid him in a manger.
This however was no ordinary child. This was the only begotten of the Father. The very bread of life had just been born in the house of bread and lay resting in that trough.
The Lord would not be satisfied if an event so precious and wonderful transpired without a proper announcement and celebration. To the shepherds in fields that night the angel of the Lord appeared. That heavenly harbinger sharing with them good tidings of great joy:
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
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, good will toward men.
And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.
Although the child the shepherds found may have looked ordinary, he was anything but. The angels had announced the arrival of the Saviour. They proclaimed that the Messiah had been born. This baby was special.
John the Baptist introduced His ministry
“Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” declared John the Baptist as he stood by Jordan. The words of the prophet serve as a prelude to the ministry of the Messiah.
John called him the Lamb. He is the perfect lamb of God: without spot, without blemish. He is our redeemer who accomplished our atonement. He is the daysman that went between us and God, that laid his hand on both.
It was for this cause that the angel of the Lord instructed Joseph, “thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.”
It was this truth that Simeon saw as he held the Christ child and prompted him to say, “For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.”
It all had begun 30 years before. There in that humble town of Bethlehem. There in that lowly stable. There swaddled in a manger the words of Abraham finally were fulfilled. God had provided himself as the lamb.
We proclaim His return
That child of Bethlehem was the one foretold of by the prophet “Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.” The meaning of his name did not end with his earthly ministry.
Christ comforted his disciples before his death saying, “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” God with us. That where I am, there ye may be also. Emmanuel.
John the revelator recorded “And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.” Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. God with us. Emmanuel.
The angels welcomed his birth. John the Baptist introduced his ministry. We have the privilege of proclaiming his return. After all, it is the defining focus of the christian’s life and of this season. Truly, He is Emmanuel.
This was used to weave the songs and scripture together in our Christmas program at New Canaan.