I have to remind myself that AD, as in December 25, 2020 AD, is an abbreviation of the Latin phrase, Anno Domini which translated means, “in the year of the Lord.” The designation is a popular and official way of measuring time since the coming of Jesus.
It is difficult to see how 2020 could be the Lord’s year. I’ve had days when I was confused and disappointed in the way things in my world were going. It takes faith, of which I have a little, and Truth in Scripture, of which I have a lot, to endure tough times and to see the Light of Hope. Hope still shines, though, like the bright star over a manger in Bethlehem. Maybe it shines brightest at night when it is dark.
And remember that life has been hard before. Examples are many and age (I’m older than I’ve ever been before) brings perspective.
My parents and grandparents told stores of living through the Great Depression. Christmas was certainly different then from current observances, including gift-giving. My father told of getting just one small gift at Christmas and some out-of-season fruit.
Wars are hard, too, and often so because of distance and separation. The popular and poignant Christmas song, “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” was written to express a soldier’s desire to be with loved ones at Christmas during World War II.
I’m a preacher and a sometime theologian and so I know where to go for hope this year, even though I sometimes don’t go there. An angel once said,
“Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people;
For today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior who is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:10-11)
The announcement of the birth of the Savior of sinners was made to shepherds. This is important because these guys were normal people.
Evidently, God speaks good news to those who are not trained Bible people. This is wonderful because theologians can sure mess things up.
God brings good news to blue collar, paycheck-to-paycheck people. Shepherds worked hard; the good news was treasure in their poor world.
God brings good news to those who, for circumstantial reasons and maybe as a personal choice, were not all that religious. Camping out with sheep would have made it difficult to be in the company of the religious.
God sometimes brings good news in an ironic way. The fields of Bethlehem were not too far from the Temple in Jerusalem where countless lambs were offered as sacrificial atonement for sin according to the Old Covenant. The shepherds, watching their sheep, heard about a Savior who would be the final and lasting sacrifice of the New Covenant.
So what did they do, these normal guys who heard good news?
They said, “Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened that the Lord has made known to us.”
So they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger.
The shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them. (Luke 2:15-16, 20).
I’m going to follow the example of shepherds:
I’m going to go straight to Jesu as fast as I can. No distractions; no procrastination.
I’m going to worship Him, glorifying God.
I’m going to take what I’ve seen, what I’ve experienced, back to my real world because everybody needs some good news.
Carl F.H. Henry pointed out that we (and I include myself) are prone to say, “Look what the world has come to.” The shepherds, and others of faith, ought to say, “Look what has come to the world.”
What has come is good news, hope and joy. What has come is Jesus. It’s still The Year of the Lord.