This chapter is a permanent part of Christmas morning in our home. Ever since our six kids were little, we have started each December 25 in the same way. With the reading of the Christmas story from Luke 2. We gather by the Christmas tree in our pajamas and read this familiar passage - before we eat, before we open presents, before we rush into the rest of what is usually a very busy day.
So this chapter is very familiar to me. Almost too familiar. So this morning I had to look closely to see past the familiarity in order to find something new. Something I had never see before. And it was hard. Partly because we have turned this passage into a warm, fuzzy holiday moment. It has become little more than a Hallmark card scene, complete with manger, angels, shepherds, sheep, cows, and a star. And in the sentimentality we lose the real significance.
There has been born for you a Savior.
There it is. That's the thing that jumped out at me this morning. Kind of obvious isn't it? But in reading this passage over the years, I have almost numbed myself to the real point of the story. I get wrapped up in the scene and miss the Savior. I get enthralled with the Kodak moment and miss the Messiah who is the focus of the picture.
Jesus wasn't just a baby in a manger, He was the Messiah. He was the long-anticipated answer the Jews had been waiting for. He was the Savior sent from God that the prophets had predicted hundreds of years before. And Luke 2 is a glaring reminder of that fact. It starts with the message the angels shared with the shepherds:
...today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. - Vs 11
Then in verse 21, Luke reminds us of this infant's name, given by the angel at His conception. It isn't just any name, but literally means "the Lord is salvation."
In verse 25, Luke tells us of Simeon, a "righteous and devout" man who was "looking for the consolation of Israel." That word, "consolation" can be translated "comforter" and was used by the rabbis of Jesus day to refer to the coming Messiah. Because He would comfort the people of God by providing salvation from their oppressors. He would save them. In verse 30, Simeon exclaims, "...my eyes have seen Your salvation." He had seen the Savior he had long been waiting for!
In verse 38, the widow and prophetess, Anna, after having seen the baby Jesus, began immediately thanking God and telling everyone who had been waiting for the "redemption of Jerusalem" that the Messiah was here. Salvation had come.
Salvation has come!
So in reading this chapter again, it dawned on me that the real message is about salvation. And in Luke's day that word had a lot more significance than it has now. They were desperate for salvation. They had longed for it for generations. They had eagerly anticipated it. They were desperate for it. They were extremely needy people who could not save themselves. So they waited for a Messiah, a Savior sent from God. Someone Who would turn their desperate circumstances into times of rejoicing. So the news of Jesus' birth was really good news. The cavalry had come! Rescue was about to happen.
But do I have that attitude toward Jesus today? Do I still see Him as my much-needed Savior? Am I excited each and every day when I wake up to know that my Savior has come? He is alive and well and ready to save me from the attacks of the enemy, the influence of my own sinful flesh, and the constant onslaught of a world that hates me. He is as much the Savior today as He was when He came, and as much as when He came into my life more than 46 years ago. I need a Savior and I need to rejoice in the fact that He is here. He is with me daily. The Savior of the world has entered into my world and continues His saving work in my life each and every day. It reminds me of the song, My Savior, My God by Aaron Shust.
My Savior loves, my Savior lives
My Savior's always there for me
My God He was, my God He is
My God He's always gonna be
Father, thank you for sending Your Son as my Savior. Help me to see Him as My Savior each and every day. Remind me daily that I need Him not only for salvation from my sins, but for sanctification. Amen