As I think on the night that our blessed Savior was born and all that was happening in that town of Bethlehem; with the census taking place there must have been a flood of people that filled the town. All these people and yet God chose to send His angels to make the very first announcement of His son’s birth to some simple shepherds that were watching over sheep in the field. Shepherds; not the most dazzling of jobs, nor probably the highest regarded by society (though Christ Himself would call Himself the good Shepherd later), but still chosen by God.
I imagine that the angels greatly anticipated announcing the long awaited birth of Christ that would bring hope to a wicked and dark world. Oh how the angels rejoice when just one soul is saved, surely the magnitude of joy and praise that would come forth from those same angels at the very moment the One to bring us salvation was born could shake the heavens! I imagine that at the moment the prophecies of a Savior being born was fulfilled the angels rejoiced greatly and brought that rejoicing to earth as they proclaimed to those simple shepherds “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.”
Oh how the joy of the Lord poured out as the sky filled with “a multitude of the heavenly host” as they continued their praise to God! How the shepherds probably quaked as the angels declared “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will towards men.” A birth announcement like no other!
The first proclamation of the birth of Christ: not to kings, not to priests, but to shepherds. God had a reason for choosing these men! Luke 2:8 tells us a little tiny bit about these shepherds but it is enough for us to know that these shepherds were diligent. They were not sleeping or slacking, and though their job may not have been the best according to society they were there diligently watching the sheep. They did not know the significance of the night, nor did they know that anything special was going to happen, they were just doing their job. “And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.” When most of the very full town was sleeping, God chose these men to receive and then share the good news. Just as these men were diligently keeping watch over their flock, God knew they would diligently listen then go and tell all that they could that the Savior was born!
Just as the shepherds were chosen, though not looked upon as the greatest in society, we too are chosen by God to share that Jesus was born and then died for us so that we may have life! You may not think of yourself as anything special or great but, you are! You are chosen by God to be a light in this dark world we live in. At a candle light service on Christmas Eve I watched as, starting from one candle, a fire was shared from person to person until the whole sanctuary glowed. All this from ONE candle, and in giving its light to other candles it lost nothing, but gave so much and illuminated so many faces. If only we, obtaining that fire from Christ, could share it with all those that are around us, how many lives could be illuminated! We may have to step out and go to others, as some had to step out into the aisles at the church to light another’s candle, but it will be worth it. May we take the Light of Christ and share it with all we can in the time that we have ahead of us.
Read Luke 2:8-14
Written by: Diana Clements
O holy night the stars are brightly shining
It is the night of our dear Savior's birth
Long lay the world in sin and error pining
Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new glorious morn
Fall on your knees
O hear the angels' voices
O night divine
O night when Christ was born
O night divine o night
O night divine
We sing these lyrics every year in December and strain (at least I do) to make those high notes sound less like scraping metal and more like an angelic chorus.
There's something to be said, however, of the powerful message of the song. When you cease singing from memory and begin to read the words as for the first time, it speaks of the mercy and grace of a Wonderful Loving Father.
Though penned by a French man who had no personal salvation experience, it echoes the Gospel shared by Luke in a way that can send tingles down our spine or bring tears to our eyes.
Why would such a song be so powerful? You see, if you truly study Biblical history then you will find that the world had gone through 400 years of silence from God by the time Mary was visited by the angel!
The 3rd line of the first verse describes the state of the word as it waited for the Promised One. "Long lay the world in sin and error pining". Yet that night of Christ's birth is often described as holy because of "A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices" and calls for a time of worship.
When you truly comprehend the depth of God's love and the divine works that was accomplished then you will also "Fall on your knees". To repent. To worship.
"In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him." 1 John 4:9
"And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth." John 1:14
He knows our need, to our weakness is no stranger,
Behold your King! Before Him lowly bend!
Behold your King! Before Him lowly bend!
It was this hymn that was chosen as the first musical piece to ever be broadcast over radio. There has to be something to be gleaned from this song in other seasons besides Christmas. And truly there are other "Holy Nights" that we can sing about.
What about the night that you got saved? or the night God's promises were once again proven true? or perhaps the night you realized God had truly performed a miracle in your life?
We unknowingly live miracles every day, whether it be regarding our safety, avoiding countless illnesses and diseases, being an influence to others in a powerful way, and so much more.
Truly He taught us to love one another;
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
If we could learn at least one valuable lesson from the baby boy born to redeem us, then it ought to be how to love. The full impact of Christ's character ought to ignite us to love those around us with the same compassion as He did to the sick, the proud, and the lost.
"Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another." 1 John 4:11
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother;
And in His name all oppression shall cease.
The message of Christmas is that God SO loved us that He provided a way for us to be redeemed. Jesus proved to be the one powerful enough to break the chains of sin, if we so chose to trust Him. When we do so, then we can unashamedly do as the following says:
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us praise His holy name.
Christ is the Lord! O praise His Name forever,
His power and glory evermore proclaim.
O night divine, O night, O night divine
Is Christ your Lord? Do you have the overwhelming urge to "praise His Name forever" and proclaim "His power and glory"?
Have a blessed Christmas!
Sonia E. Vargas
Trust. It's an issue we all deal with at one point or another. Many times we focus on what or who we've learned not to trust; such as, ISIS, the government, our finances, liars, traitors, the list can go on and on.
Our founding fathers did well to adopt "In God we trust" as our motto. That very action has blessed us numerous times over the years. Yet, now we see a trend occuring in recent and former generations, who exalt self as the sole reason for success. Sure, we have a part in how "successful" we are in life, but how can an individual be termed as a success when he's driven by greed, envy, and selfish ambition? Where does his trust lie?
In this "selfie" age we truly must recognize that exalting one's image and character is becoming the norm.
Then tragedy strikes.
A terrible accident happens, financial ruin is inevitable, war strikes, or innocent victims are gunned down.
It seems that we're hearing or reading about it everyday.
We receive more bad news or another trial bombards us.
Who then can we trust?
Can we truly trust self, our money, or the government?
Even when the New York Times boldly declared, "God's Not Fixing This!", did they give us an option of hope. Can they offer us a reliable source to truly trust?
Of course not!
When we open the Bible it is full of reasons to trust in God, completely and wholeheartedly!
"In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid what man can do unto me. Thy vows are upon me, O God: I will render praises unto thee. For thou hast delivered my soul from death: wilt not thou deliver my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of the living?" - Psalms 56:11-13
And also reminds us that it's best to trust Him than any other...
"It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in princes." - Psalms 118:8-9
I believe Job demonstrated a powerful lesson of trust when he was stripped of possessions, wealth, and family (except his wife). By man's standards he had every reason to abandon his trust and faith in God. By the way, scholars believe that Job is the first book of the Bible to be written. So that means Job had no Scriptures to turn to, no written assurances of God's faithfulness and promises, yet he still trusted. Listen to his proclamation of trust...
"Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him." - Job 13:15
Wow! He would remain faithful, he would face death, and through it all he CHOSE to TRUST God!
What circumstances or struggles are leading you to make the same decision? It's a choice.
It's a commitment of the heart to decide to Trust in Him at ALL times.
Sonia E. Vargas
Sonia's desire and hope is to write for the purpose of inspiring this generation, especially young woman.
Hannah Helm is a fun and outgoing young woman who loves to bring laughter and joy to anyone she comes in contact with. She is 23 years old and is a leader of Girl's Exalting the Master Ministry.
Paula is a passionate follower of Christ and loves to encourage others around her to do the same. She is 27 years old and is currently attending Free Gospel Bible Institute. She was a part of the Guatemala GEM team in 2014.
Kristyn is a sweet and gentle young lady from Trinity Holiness Tabernacle. She is 19 years old and is currently attending Free Gospel Bible Institute. She plays the piano and sings beautifully. She was a part of the Guatemala GEM team in 2014 and Honduras team in 2016.