The Shepherds Had an Angel

shepherdschristmasDuring the Christmas Musical at the church I attend, a few lines in a song by Christina Rosetti captured my attention:  “ The Shepherds had an angel. The Wise Men had a star. But what have I, a little child, to guide me home from afar?”

I think many of us, from time to time, long for some supernatural sign to assure us of the truth of the Christmas message.  An angel, a star, a choir of heavenly host would be the ultimate of signs.  But is that what we really want, what we really need?  The scriptures have something to say about those that seek after ‘signs’ to validate their faith.  Matthew 12: 38 & 39 (New Living Translation) offers a warning in these words, “One day some teachers of religious law and Pharisees came to Jesus and said, ‘Teacher, we want you to show us a miraculous sign to prove that you are from God.(v.39)  But Jesus replied, ‘only an evil, faithless generation would ask for a miraculous sign.” Later, perhaps for added emphasis, Matthew 16: 1-4 reports,  “ One day the Pharisees and Sadducees came testing Jesus’ claims by asking him to show them a miraculous sign from heaven”  He replied, “ You know the saying, ‘ Red sky at night means fair weather tomorrow, red sky in the morning means foul weather all day.’ You are good at reading the weather signs in the sky, but you can’t read the obvious signs of the times!  Only an evil, faithless generation would ask for a miraculous sign…”

Why was Jesus so emphatic in denouncing sign-seeking?  I believe it is the principle of faith. Heb. 11:1 (NLT) “What is faith? It is the confident assurance that what we hope for is going to happen. It is the evidence of things we cannot yet see.”  Seeking signs leads people into the folly of walking by sight and not walking by faith. Heb. 11:6 tells us, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him (God): for he that comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”

What is the alternative to seeking ‘signs’ that fade and cause misplaced trust? 1 Thess. 1:5 (NLT) “For when we brought you the Good News, it was not only with words but also with power, for the Holy Spirit gave you full assurance that what we said was true.”  The Holy Spirit within is the way we know for sure the message of Christmas is true. Paul assures us in Galatians 4:6 that “God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts.” Rom. 8:16, “ The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.”

Add to the witness of the Holy Spirit the powerful words of Scripture, and the Christmas Story becomes an absolute reality in our lives. 1 John 5:13, “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life”  Read again the accounts of Matthew and Luke concerning the birth of Jesus. Keep in mind these words from 2 Tim.3:16, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.”  Also 2 Pet. 1:21, “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”

John 20:29 quotes Jesus as saying, “Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.”  Angels may go away and stars may fade from view, but the witness of the spirit within and the surety of God’s word will abide. Through good days and bad days these are our anchors. Gifts of prophecy shall be done away with, tongues will cease, and knowledge will vanish away (1 Cor. 13) but faith-based love will never fade or fail.  1 Pet. 1:4 assures us of “an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that fadeth not away.  Peter continues in 1 Pet. 5:4, “ you shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.”

~ Brother Roy

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