This is the best sermon I have heard on the birth of Jesus Christ.
This good news was announced on earth to a few shepherds by a single angel, after which a multitude of angels rejoiced, in praise “to God in the highest.” One of the greatest events on earth took place that night.
Can we imagine what was going on in heaven? Could it be that after thousands of years of planning and waiting for this day heaven was quiet?
Joseph’s purpose and greatness in this life was to serve as Jesus’ earthly father. He attended the birth and accepted Jesus as his own son. But God, His heavenly Father begat Him for an even greater purpose. His physical birth was the result of the heavenly Father’s desiring, and siring, to fulfill all His promises of redemption for His people of every race and nation.
Would not He and all of heaven been in a holy expectancy in anticipation of this event with its celebration and proclamation?
While the people of Bethlehem may have been sleeping and the world clueless to God’s plans during this historical event, can we not think that God, Jesus’ heavenly Father was present, with the attendance of the angels, for the delivery of His own Son? Would not Gabriel who had announced the conception to Mary been present? And might Michael have been there to keep the enemy at bay? This is only speculation, but surely there was much going on that was not recorded for us.
If “the angels in heaven rejoice over one sinner that repents,” imagine what all the heavenly hosts were doing that night when the Redeemer, who has brought that means of repentance, was born.
A few were privileged to experience the reverberation that night—from the heavenly Father came the proclamation of new life here on earth, as promised from the beginning, and prophesied through the ages. The shepherds heard, believed, and came to see “that which had come to pass,” and glorified and praised God for all they had heard and seen.
“And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.”
The echo continues, as it has for thousands of years. God, the Father is still proclaiming the majesty of His Son over all things, and His love for all His children. For those who hear, Christ is conceived in the heart, bringing faith and repentance. The heavenly hosts are still rejoicing as God, the Father, through Jesus Christ and His Holy Spirit give true life ~eternal life ~ to new sons and daughters.
We do not know what happened the night of Jesus’ birth other than what has been recorded in His Word, and passed down through the centuries. We celebrate the season of this birth in many different ways according to our culture and traditions. There are many reverberations heard and experienced throughout the world that have nothing to do with the purpose and truth of the birth of the Son of God. But, in a few, from the hearts of those to whom this truth has been revealed there is an echo resounding, not from speculation or imagination, but from the Father, and Christ, Himself.
He is present, and the heavenly hosts rejoice with each new birth. He has made us His children, His family, His people, His church, His echo here on earth, heard not just for one season or another, but for all time and eternity.
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace with whom he is pleased.”
“Through Jesus Christ, our Lord, to whom be glory forever and ever, Amen.”
Dear heavenly Father, as you planned that your only begotten Son would be the first of many brethren, bringing many sons to glory, let us gratefully echo the good tidings that the angels announced that holy night. Fill us with the Spirit of the life of Christ, so that forever He will be glorified in you and us. In His name we pray. Amen.
Some people of the Christian faith are celebrating the season of Advent ~ the anticipated coming of the Messiah. (See related article for a longer explanation.)
Advent emphasizes two main things, “coming” and Jesus Christ ~ the one who was to come, who has come, who is coming and will come again a last time.
According to promise throughout the Scriptures, the Israelites were expecting Emmanuel ~ “God with us.”
Their prayer and song was “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel.”
The Messiah has come (the reason for celebration now) and in His coming Christ has saved a people for Himself.
Those who anticipate His second coming celebrate Advent also. This will be the third advent.
The Second Advent is the lifelong celebration of the coming of Christ by those who have experienced it personally. What does this mean?
Think of the Holy Spirit that “hovered over the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light.” Genesis 1:2-3
Then in the first chapter of Luke we see how Christ came into the world in fulfillment of the promise of a Savior.
“And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God.” Luke 1:35
The Holy Spirit came upon Mary, a young virgin, as God’s means to bring light into the world, the light that had been extinguished.
The Holy Spirit comes upon us to birth Christ the Savior in us. He cannot save us outside of ourselves. He must overwhelm us with His holiness, His love, His power, and fill us with the light of Christ. (2 Corinthians 4:7; 1 Peter:3)
Mary’s and Joseph’s hearts were tender and fertile to receive the infant Jesus and to care for Him, to bring Him up in the nurture of God’s Word.
“A new heart and a new spirit “(Ezekiel 36:26) is God’s promise and gift to us so that we can receive the life of Christ in us. It is this advent in our own lives that enables us to live in the power of the Holy Spirit in anticipation of the Last Advent.
“No ear may hear His coming
But in this world of sin
Where meek souls will receive him still
The dear Christ enters in
O holy Child of Bethlehem
Descend to us, we pray
Cast out our sin and enter in
Be born to us today.”
(O Little Town of Bethlehem)
Jesus is no longer a baby in a manger, nor a man on a cross, but our Almighty Savior, High Priest, Lord and King, who is interceding for us now, , by His Holy Spirit intervening, and who will come and take us to Himself for eternity.
Dear Father, we praise you for the power of your Holy Spirit to complete your work here on earth. Continue to shine your Light through the advent of our lives. We pray the gift of new hearts, the Holy Spirit and the life of Christ throughout the coming year. Come, Lord Jesus. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Music is designed with a melody that runs throughout the whole piece. Other parts add harmony. The melody is the beginning, and the ending. It is what holds the piece together. Lose the melody or make it a monotone—the same tone over and over— and it ceases to be music. Overpower the melody and the music loses its meaning.
Music is a sound that began in heaven with God, our Father and Creator. It is a major means that He provided to help us worship Him—“Holy, Holy, Holy”—one for the Father, one for the Son, and one for the Holy Ghost, is sung by the angels in heaven. (Isaiah 6:3 and Revelation 4:8)
Anthems are compositions for music that include all parts —melody, harmony, and sometimes, what is called a descant. A descant is a part that is sung by a higher range of voices. It is not meant to overpower but provide an extra lift to the other parts.
Together all the parts speak to the senses to lift the spirit and the heart toward God.
Some of The Psalms that we sing from the Trinity Psalter have descants. If you have never sung The Psalms you have not only missed hearing the command of the Lord in Ephesians 5:19, but also the blessings that come with them when they are sung.
In Psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs we worship with Biblical texts and heavenly music.
(For centuries The Psalms were sung in all the churches. They are God’s Word sung in worship to Him. But most churches for the past two hundred years have thrown them out in the same way that the true gospel has been pushed aside.)
And for the most part, all we hear is a monotone—the same thing over and over. Melody and harmony have been replaced with the performances of one person’s voice or drowned by instruments that overpower the melody.
Hymns have been replaced by compositions that have no harmony—difficult to sing and remember—and have separated generations of families.
I picture it according to His Word—the melody was begun in heaven with Jesus, His Son—“Holy, Holy, Holy” from the foundation of the world. He would not only be the beginning of music, but the melody throughout the span of time here on earth, onward into eternity.
“And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes…”
He was wrapped in our humanity—the melody of heaven was here—to gather around Him those that would add the harmony to Himself, and provide the music for His family, the music that the Father wanted to hear.
“On the same night there were shepherds with flocks of sheep in the field. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them”—the music and the worship were about to begin.
“And the glory of the Lord shone round about them with good tidings of great joy”—the prelude—the introduction to the first anthem of true worship.
“And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly hosts praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest”—the descant.
“And on earth peace.” Christ Jesus, our Lord, is the melody of heaven, the melody of life, as God has composed it, and plays it for us by His Spirit and through His Word.
“I will declare thy name (the Father) unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee.” “Behold, I and the children which God hath given me.” (Hebrews 2:12-13)—the harmony of His family. Now He has a full choir.
The Psalms, hymns and spiritual songs that we learn throughout our childhood are the anthems that are carried into heaven with us, as we join that celestial choir. Others are added along the way as He gives us a repertoire. The only soloist is the one who carries the melody—Christ, Himself.
As we live by the Spirit, and walk by the Spirit, He opens our ears to hear the melody, and to follow Him. Our off-keys and monotones are tuned to harmonize with other voices. And walking humbly with our Father, in the obedience of faith, loving the Lord, our God, and our neighbor, we are surrounded by the heavenly overtones echoing His praise in heaven and earth. In our devotion to Christ He opens our hearts to hear compositions we have never heard before, especially during the difficult circumstances of life.
I pray that we know the Lord as our strength and song.” (Exodus 15:2)
I pray that we would experience “the new song” as He fills us with His Spirit.
On this Lord’s Day I go to His House with a great expectation of hearing the melody—a strong and sure foundation for our worship—hearing the other parts, and the distant sound of the descant of the angels in affirmation that our worship is accepted.
I pray that each day we will practice our singing, individually, and in family worship, so that we are prepared for worship on the Lord’s Day—all in preparation for the great day when we see Him and praise Him in all His glory with the angels.
Our Father has composed the music and directs the choir.
Let us sing with full hearts to His glory and our joy.
The LORD of hosts:
The whole earth is full of His glory.”
Lord’s Day 9/23/07 (From 50 Days of Prayer and Praise~Articles and Stories of Faith.)
Where are God’s angels today?
The angels that were present at the creation, have been present throughout all of history, waiting the time when God’s word would be fulfilled in the incarnation of His Son, Jesus.
Without doing a whole series on angels, we want to look at one segment of the record of angels from God’s word, to compare the angel’s announcement of Mary’s conception, to Jesus’ proclamation of our new birth.
The Angels Proclamation:
“And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee; therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” Luke 1:35
“Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God…except a man is born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit…The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.” John 3:3,5-6
The same Holy Ghost (Sprit) that came upon Mary is the same Spirit that comes upon us to reveal Jesus Christ in us. The power of the Highest that overshadowed Mary is the same power that overshadows His people today; by which we conceive in our hearts the image and Spirit of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
He told His disciples that He would not leave them helpless, but would come to them, by His Spirit. When Jesus comes He does not just come unto us, but into us, by His Spirit.
Mary could not conceive a child of her own. It was God’s gift to her and to us.
We cannot conceive a child on our own. Whether flesh or Spirit, it is God’s gift to us.
We cannot will this gift to ourselves. We cannot birth Christ in our own hearts.
We cannot decide to believe in Christ. Only He can send His Spirit to be born in us.
Was Mary’s conception a phenomenon? So is our faith in Jesus Christ.
Was the birth of Jesus Christ through a virgin a supernatural event? So is our new birth.
Apart from Jesus Christ, we can do nothing. As He continually sends His Spirit to do His work in and through us we can do all things that He wills for us, no less and no more ~ all miraculously!
“CHRIST IN YOU, THE HOPE OF GLORY”
What are the angels doing, now that Christ has accomplished His work on earth and “It is finished?” They are still winging their flight o’er all the earth; and in heaven rejoicing over every sinner that repents!
The work of the Spirit of Christ keeps the angels singing. “Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?” Hebrews 1:14
Angels We Have Heard on High
Sweetly singing o’er the plains
And the mountains in reply
Echoing their joyous strains.
Gloria, in excelsis Deo!
Glory to God in the Highest!
“All creation, join in praising God, the Father, Spirit, Son,
Evermore your voices raising to the eternal Three in One.”