SCRIPTURE: Luke 2:8-14
8 That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. 9 Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, 10 but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. 11 The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! 12 And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.” 13 Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”
Some shepherd dudes are rolling around on the outskirts of a small, off-the-beaten-path place called Bethlehem (house of bread). All the sheep have been gathered and secured and they are ready for a good night’s sleep. As they are about to get some much needed shut eye, they are interrupted by a close encounter of the 3rd kind when “an angel of the Lord” (presumably Gabriel – the messenger of Good News) bursts through the space-time continuum to alert them that a universe rocking, world shaking, and hell-breaking event has just occurred: the long-awaited Savior/Messiah/Lord has just been born.
This angelic announcement scares the fright right out these shepherds (as it would us) but the angel reassures them that this event means mega joy for humanity. After their hearts rates begin to slow somewhat their senses are again bombarded by another supernatural invasion. This time a myriad of heavenly hosts materializes out of thin air singing the great hymn, “Glory to God in the Highest” and pronouncing a beatitude: “On earth peace to whom God is pleased.” Who said what to who now?
The angelic pronouncement of “Joy to the world and on earth peace” has provided inspiration for a zillion hymns, carols, and songs over the millennia. However, what many folks tend to skip over is the qualifier, “To those with whom God is pleased.” Who experiences the angelic promise of unshakable peace and unbreakable joy? God gave us the answer thirty-three years later at another supernatural event called Mount of Transfiguration when he said “This is my Son in whom I am well pleased, listen to him” (Matthew 17:5).
Three ways we listen to the Son and thus obtain God’s favor:
(1) We believe Jesus. Particularly his divine claims as the Son of God and God the Son.
(2) We follow Jesus. “My sheep hear my voice and follow me” (John 10:27).
(3) We obey Jesus. “If you love me you will do what I say” (John 14:15).
Listening to Jesus is the pathway to eternal peace and joy. Do it this Advent Season and enjoy God’s favor forevermore.
PRAYER: Dear Eternal Father,
Empower us to listen to Jesus and do as he says. For your eternal glory and our everlasting peace and joy, Amen!