Once again it is my pleasure to have the opportunity to wish all of you a blessed Christmas. May the peace and light of Christ shine upon and through your hearts as you celebrate God's coming to earth as a man to save us.
Christmas is an extremely hard and painful time for many and if that is true of you I pray that the true message of Christmas will bring you the comfort that only God can give in our darkest of days.
One does not have to look far to see that the world is pretty messed up these days - a messing up that drips down into and impacts everyone's life often to horrific and sorrowful degrees. The message of the Angels that first Christmas, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests." is needed today just as much as it was the night Jesus was born.
That angelic proclamation begs a question though - on whom does God's favor rest and what is the evidence of that favor? The answer to both of those questions can be found in Psalm 2. That psalm references the nations of the world warring against God in their desire to have their own way instead of His. Their efforts, of course, are pitifully comical in the light of God's sovereign power and He sends King Jesus anyway. The psalmist then gives this moving exhortation: "Kiss the Son, lest he be angry and you be destroyed in your way, for his wrath can flare up in a moment. Blessed are all who take refuge in him."
On whom does God favor's rest? It is clearly upon those who embrace Jesus, God's Son. Bob Dylan is right - "Everybody's got to serve somebody" so it only makes sense to serve the One God made King - Jesus
And what is the evidence of God's favor in the life of one who embraces Jesus? It is plain, simply, and wonderfully refuge. It is nice that today and tomorrow many people are enjoying storybook and idyllic Christmases, but hot turkey, wrapped presents, laughing friends, and loving families are not the evidence of God's favor. Others are enjoy a bountiful season of life, but health, wealth, and prosperity are not evidence of God's favor either. Refuge, refuge, refuge - refuge through Jesus is the evidence of God's favor.
To a world racked with the consequences of sin - war, financial hardship, addictions, broken and stressed relationships, oppressive poverty, sickness and death - God shows His favor to those who turn to Jesus by giving them refuge within because the soul that trust's in Jesus is safe no matter what calamity storms and threatens in life. And let us not forget that that refuge extends beyond this life. Jesus was born so He could live and then pay the penalty of our sins by dying for us on the cross of Calvary - a sacrifice that guarantees refuge from the condemning judgment of God at the end of time.
Jesus was born. Embrace Him. Let your soul refuge in Him.