Luke 2: 8- 14
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.”
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
Earthly kings have great throngs, glittering processions, pomp and pagaentry in spades to mark their arrival. They have formidable security, cast iron barriers and armed police to keep out the undesirables. Only VIPs and heads of state may enter. For the rest of us, the bars of entry are firmly shut. We cannot approach. We do not belong to the proper channels. If we were to find ourselves in a king's presence, like the Australian speech therapist in "The King's Speech", we would be met with snobbery and suspicious eyes.
But when the true King comes, the barriers come down. He invites the outcasts, the blind and lame, the weak and the foolish into his glorious presence. He goes after that which is lost, forsaking the royal splendour of earthly kings which unite against God and His anointed one (Psalm 2). He comes in weakness, God born of woman, born under the law, humbling himself to human weaknesses and death on a cross. He makes himself nothing for our sake so that all may have access and find grace in times of need. The new covenant, unlike the old, brings us right into the throne room of God through the birth of Christ. The warnings given to the Israelites in the Mosaic law ("do not come near") are laid aside as God made flesh lays down his majesty and glory so that lowly shepherds and wise men from Gentile ("unclean") lands can worship him. And so that through their witness in His Word, his message of peace might be announced to all nations, carrying the favour of God to those terrified in their sins, crippled under the condemnation of God's law and with only an expectation of God's fiery judgment.
Today the baby in the manger is a sign for you. Look past the Christmas decorations, the consumerist thirst for even more stuff you don't need, and the nativity plays. Look on Christ who is born for you, born to die for sinners, shattering the yoke of sin, death and the devil that burdens you, and establishing His everlasting kingdom with healing in its wings. The zeal of the Lord Almighty has accomplished this (Isaiah 9:7).
In the name of Jesus. Amen.