3 minute read

on Christmas

By Rev. George Borghardt

Christmas Eve always brings such beautiful pictures into our minds. There are the shepherds watching their flocks by night. There is the angel of the Lord coming to them to announce the birth of the Savior. Can you imagine the wonderful sound the choir of angels made? And don’t forget how the shepherds ran to find out what had happened! It’s such a beautiful picture!

Where did you picture the angel? You pictured him in the air, didn’t you? I know because I used to picture him there too! The question is, “What does the Bible say?”

St. Luke records that there were the shepherds, living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night (Luke 2:8). What’s next is amazing! “And the angel of the Lord stood near them and the glory of the Lord shown around them and they were greatly frightened” (Luke 2:9).

Did you hear that? St.Luke records that the angel of the Lord stood before them. He wasn’t floating in the air over the shepherds. No, the angel stood—as in, on the ground. His feet were on the ground! He stood just like you stand.

There is no better place for the angels to be than on the earth, for that is where Jesus is. The Savior of the world is in the city of David. He’s the baby wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in the manger.

The Son of God is born on the same chunk of dirt that we live on.He’s one of us now—He cries, sleeps, eats, and does all the other things that little babies do. “No crying He makes?” No way! Lots of crying He makes! He’s that much like you. He came to earth for us, as one of us.

Our sin is that we think that God and His angels are way up in the sky while we are on the earth. When we sin, which is all the time, we think there are things between us and almighty God that aren’t settled or that need to be settled by something we do. If we do the right thing, maybe God, who lives somewhere up there in the sky, will take notice of us way down here on the earth.

Thank God for Christmas! It shows us how and where God really is for us. The angel isn’t in the air and neither is God.The Son of God, fully divine, was born of the Virgin. God is with us—right down here in the dirt.

Little Baby Jesus, wrapped in swaddling clothes, was born just like you but without your sin. He took your sin upon Himself on the cross so that you would be just as He is. He is perfect, and now in Him you are perfect too. And when you fall asleep, you will rise, just as He rose!

The shepherds found the Son of God in the manger, but He’s not there anymore. Nor is He on the cross. Today, Jesus is found in the Word your pastor puts into your ears, which tells you that God has taken on your flesh and died for you. He’s in the waters of your Baptism, where all your sins drip off your forehead. He’s in the Lord’s Supper, where He gives His Body for you to eat and His Blood for you to drink for the remission of all your sins.

The Lord’s gifts are where you are—on the earth. God and His angels don’t lock themselves in heaven, and they don’t hover above they earth. That’s why they don’t go back to heaven until after they have delivered the Lord’s message and given us a good hymn to sing! God is where you are, down on earth in your little world, where you have problems, where you suffer, where you are sick, and where you die. God has come to you in the person of His Son. Everything is on the earth—the angel, the shepherds, even God Himself. That’s the beautiful and true Christmas picture.

From heaven above to earth I come To bear good news to every home; Glad tidings of great joy I bring, Whereof I now will say and sing… ( TLH 85:1)
Rev. George F. Borghardt III is the assistant pastor of St. Mark Lutheran Church in Conroe, T exas, and a member of the editorial board of Higher Things. His email address is revborghardt @sanctus.org. Check out his blog at http://blo g.higherthings.org/borghardt/.
An A ngel Appears to the Shepherds 1990, 24 x 29.25 inches Luke 2:8-12