Photo by Chris Benson on Unsplash
Read Luke 2
This Sunday, we get the joy of seeing a gaggle of silly geese (our children) climb up on stage in costumes to sing songs about the Savior who came. In Matthew 18, Jesus teaches us that we are to become like children or we cannot enter the kingdom of heaven. How easily children see the truth of Christ; how humble they are and how innocent!
Sara Groves’ children very sweetly read from this section of The Jesus Storybook Bible as the intro to one of her songs, It’s True.
“Mary, you’re going to have a baby. A little boy. You will call him Jesus. He is God’s own Son. He’s the One! He’s the Rescuer!”
… Wait. God was sending a baby to rescue the world?
“But it’s too wonderful!” Mary said… “How can it be true?”
“Is anything too wonderful for God?” Gabriel asked.
So Mary trusted God more than what her eyes could see.
And she believed.
— From The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones
Nine months before the events of Luke chapter 2, Mary got a big surprise. What is elsewhere described as being shocking or scary (the visitation of an angel) happened to a teenage girl. This visit was not meant to just give a message from God, but rather it was to proclaim very special news: Mary would bear the Savior of the world after a miraculous conception.
And she believed.
The Holy Spirit revealed to Simeon that he would not die before he had the opportunity to see the promised Messiah, the Christ, who would save the world from sin. He did get a chance to see the baby Jesus, and he praised God.
And he believed.
The shepherds likely flung themselves to the ground terrified as a host of angels proclaimed that the promised child had come. They found the baby Jesus, Mary, and Joseph hanging out in a manger scene just as the angels had said. One commentator likened the swaddled baby Jesus to an unblemished lamb wrapped up for sacrifice — surely this resonated with the shepherds!
And they believed.
The fuller truth of Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 18 about becoming like a child is that we have to humble ourselves and become dependent on Him like little children. But don’t the other things ring true as well — that humility and awe are the things that could potentially start us on that path?
Would you throw on a figurative shepherd’s cloak and humiliate yourself in front of a crowd of people, singing praise to Jesus with words you don’t fully understand? Would you put on a metaphorical pipe cleaner halo and pretend to proclaim the birth of Christ beside all the other kids who say they love Jesus, no matter what they look or smell like?
Could you be like a child today? Could you be like the teen Mary? Would you be like the awestruck shepherds or like Simeon in his old age? Could you humbly accept the real gift of Christmas: God’s Son sent into the world to rescue you from your own sin and make you His own?
Will you believe?