A Post-Christmas Message

empty-mangerOn Christmas Eve I was reading the Christmas story in Matthew and Luke, and I saw something I had never seen.

An angel appeared to the shepherds in the field and told them a Savior had been born and where to find Him. (Luke 2:8-18).

The Shepherds do what any of us would have done: they go to try to find Him.

They find Him, and Luke says this about what happens next:

“When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had ben 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.”

(Luke 2:16-19).

What had never registered on me before was that the shepherds spread the word about what they had been told and seen and people were amazed. Now people being people, they probably went to get a look at this child who was going to be their Savior; yet when they arrived at the manger they probably found nothing because Joseph and Mary had left for Egypt (Matt. 2:13-15), leaving those who had heard with only the promise.

For the next thirty years, those who had heard had only the promise of a Savior and a King. Some probably forgot. Others probably dismissed the promise after not finding the child. Still others likely did what Mary did and treasured and pondered the promise in their hearts. (Luke 2:19).

Thirty years later, when Jesus began His earthly ministry, those who initially dismissed the shepherd’s story as fiction may not have made the connection, but those who pondered the promise in their heart and lived in expectation  were more likely to have recognized Jesus as the fulfillment of the promise.

The first Christmas did not bring salvation; it brought the hope of salvation rooted in the promises of God. For those who remembered, there was a blessing thirty years later, when the work of the Savior was completed and the earthly work of the King began in earnest.

What promises have the Lord made to you that have not yet been fulfilled? Have you written them off or are you treasuring and pondering them in your heart?

Now that Christmas is behind us, it’s time to look ahead realizing the call is to a life leaning on the promises of God. GS

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