Date: 25 Dec 2016 (Christmas Day)
Text: Luke 2:8-20 & Philippians 4:4
How are you feeling today? Are you in a good mood, happy, ready to party and ready to eat when the Pastor stops talking? Perhaps you are ready to rejoice in the fact that today is Jesus’ birthday. We are gathered here this morning at quite a respectable hour and yet those famous shepherds were watching over their sheep in the fields outside Bethlehem very late at night. They were no doubt struggling to keep out the cold by being well wrapped up and huddling around a fire. Suddenly they were startled by an angel who was then joined a little while later by a host of other angels. The first angel had come to give the shepherds some amazing news whilst the host who joined him and the shepherds came to sing God’s praises.
Once the angels had departed back to wherever it is that angels come from, the shepherds travelled into Bethlehem where they found Jesus just as the first angel had said they would. They were totally taken aback but, as Luke tells us, they returned to their flocks of sheep “glorifying and praising God” (Luke 2:20). As they went on their way they rejoiced; and why not, they had seen the baby Who had been born as the Messiah and they were overjoyed at what they had seen and heard. No wonder they were rejoicing; this was a once in a lifetime event. Paul tells us that we should “rejoice in the Lord always, I will say it again: rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4). This is Christmas Day, the day when we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ so why shouldn’t we rejoice. Do we rejoice at the birth of Jesus at Christmas or do we get grumpy at the cost over the whole thing; the time it takes to cook the turkey; the tolerated relatives who are due to visit at any moment. Why not celebrate this Christmas by inviting Jesus in as the honoured guest? Celebrate and rejoice with Him just as the shepherds appear to have done. Let’s face it, today we celebrate the birth of the Person Who saved our lives; surely that’s something worth rejoicing over.