Christmas is to be a season of joy for all people. Remember the words of the angel of the Lord in Luke 2:10. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people.”
I’ve been captured by that phrase “all people.” Think about that phrase. Then I suggest a rereading of Genesis 1 and 2.
Can you imagine the sense of dignity, purpose and joy that the former slaves of Egyptian tyranny began to experience as they heard the Creation story? The beautiful primal images of our glorious origins resonating in their souls. The glories of starry order in the heavens they observed at night, the verdant gardens of Egypt suddenly took on new meaning and especially the relationship of a man and woman with one another and God.
In that creation story was the gift of a holy day of rest for God’s people. Rest for all people, not just the privileged. Rest even the word refreshes.
Consider also the creation words “no shame” from Genesis 2:25. What joy that must have brought to people who had been shamed by their oppressors and their own sin! The hopeful possibilities of a life of loving relationships with one another and God. Life with glory and honor! Just like the Creation story.
Into the cruelties and harsh realities of a Roman occupation comes good news of great joy, Christ has come. It’s good news for all people. Some warriors like Moses earlier had tried to deliver Israel’s oppressed from their oppressor and failed. This time, the Creator has arrived as babe lying in the manger. Those shepherds, despised by most, felt the resonance in their hearts as the angel spoke. They mattered. The angels gave the message to them, not the king or the priests, the mayor or merchant! God knew them, knew where they were. God trusted them with his message. They were men made in God’s image.
They probably didn’t know that Christmas was the beginning of a new creation. No matter they responded with faith and the knowledge they had. Seeing the baby so transformed them, they had to tell everyone. The Bible records that those who heard them were astonished. Were these men really shepherds?
Into a hurting world that longed for the Messiah, Christ came. Good news for all people.
“Imago Dei” gives us a true picture of who we are, what we have been given and where we are headed. Christmas is the reality that God came to save his own from their sins and their oppressors. I pray that everyone who hears us share this good news will be astonished by the love our Heavenly Father, the Creator of heaven and earth!
Peace and Joy!