TEXT: Luke 2:13-14 Series A
THEME: The angels sing a symphony to us of good will, The Nativity of Our Lord
Peace, and glory to God. Our Savior Lutheran Church
TITLE: “The Word That Rang Like a Song!” Pagosa Springs, Colorado
December 24, 2001
(Christmas is a holiday of music! The radio plays Christmas carols, TV Christmas specials featuring famous singers compete for our attention, people attend Christmas concerts, Handel’s “Messiah” is sung, and shopping malls are filled with holiday tunes that accompany the ring of cash registers ringing in the profits. Yes, music and song seem to be everywhere at Christmas! But all the music w hear can’t hold a candle to the music that the angels san in announcing the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. What a symphony of salvation those uncultured shepherds must have heard as legions upon legions of God’s holy angels sang the greatest news ever heard, “Glory to God in the highest, peace on earth and good will toward men.” Now those shepherds who heard that heavenly concert were Hebrew shepherds and with that in mind, permit me to take the liberty to look at that angelic song in a Hebrew way…like the language, well start at the back first and work toward the front.
I. THE ANGELS SANG A SONG OF DIVINE GOOD WILL TOWARD MEN.
Here is a symphony about God and men.
First there is God!
He is the altogether holy one, dwelling in incomprehensible light which no human dare approach.
He is the determiner and writer of all history of whose evils he is not the author but the limiter.
He is the one enthroned in unspeakable glory beyond our wildest imagination.
He is served and adored by ten thousand times ten thousand glorious angels.
He speaks and the universe can do nothing but His bidding.
Then there is man.
God had intended a shining blueprint for him, but man ripped it up and threw it in His face.
He would insist that he be his own “god” and determined that he had no use for his Creator.
Man has determined that he alone is the final arbiter of what is true and what is not true, what is right and not right, what is moral and what is immoral.
Then there are the results of man’s problem:
Being our own God just doesn’t work!
As a result of this foolish thinking and complete incompetence in running our own lives, let alone the affairs of the world, this place has become a cold hard world filled with fear and death.
Man thinks he can set his own priorities, but it rarely ends up right and most often ends up in disaster.
There can be no room found for Mary and Joseph in the inn at Bethlehem, but we can always find room for what we consider important if it matters to us.
Husband who have no time to take their wives out to eat have time to go skiing or fishing once a week.
Fathers who have no time to spend with their children have time to spend a week’s vacation hunting.
Wives who have no time for studying God’s Word, have time to get together with their girl friends for bridge or golf.
Children who are too tired to cut the grass, shovel the drive or do the dishes have amazing energy to play.
There was no room for Jesus’ family in the inn because at that moment, other priorities were more urgent to the innkeeper…our priorities are all messed up in this world!
In the midst of our man’s mismanagement and twisted priorities, the angels pop a big surprise.
God bears good will toward men!
It really doesn’t make much sense! We’d never expect it!
Here we are in this lost and selfish world, tuned in solely on ourselves, not knowing or caring that we are in deep spiritual trouble, and in our blindness, God chooses to have compassion on us!
It’s our sins and estrangement from God that lead the Christ-child to a humble manger.
But His love hasn’t stopped with His incarnation, rather the totality of His love is seen at a Roman cross thirty three years later.
Here the love of God is seen with a profundity that we can barely comprehend.
How can it be that such innocence would die for our twisted priorities, our selfishness, and our lack of interest in our Creator?
We see Him murdered by the very people He came to save.
We are astounded that the Father’s righteous anger and wrath against sin and unbelief are fully expended on His only Son instead of us.
Now is divine justice satisfied!…Now the divine anger is gone…forever!
Out of the darkness of seeming defeat, comes an incredible victory!
Out of Bethlehem comes abundant life in the very midst of death.
II. NOT ONLY DOES GOD HAVE GOOD WILL TOWARD MEN, BUT HE ALSO GIVES US PEACE!
But what’s wrong? Is there really peace on earth? Did the angels get carried away?
Our world doesn’t seem all that peaceful does it?
Some mistakenly think of some future millennial reign on earth, but that is a misuse of the Scriptures.
The peace on earth the angels announce has now come and is ours! (Rom. 5:1)
The divorce we sought from God with our sin has been healed, and His anger is gone forever for those whose faith is in His Son.
What a Christmas gift!
Fretting has become folly…A loving hand, strong and wise, is the resting place for our lives in this world and the next.
We are also at peace with other men.
Before we always worried that finding favor with God might be a comparison game with other men, but no more!
But now we know His blood cleans us all of all our sin.
We also have peace at our death.
Paul writes…(Phil. 1:23)
Now death is not the end, but glory, rest, Jesus’ presence.
Now death is the entrance into life forever, the company of the saints.
We all have this peace NOW!
III. HAVING WORKED OUR WAY FROM THE BACK TO THE BEGINNING, WE HAVE THE ANGELS MESSAGE OF GLORY TO GOD IN THE HIGHEST!
I suspect that we forget how radically God has transformed our lives.
Because we are in Christ and have put on Christ, it is Christ who is in us that now accomplishes His holy will for our lives.
Our godly acts are His godly acts, not our own…His glory!
Since we are saved through Christ, it is the salvation He works, not us… His glory!
Now our whole life is His work…His grace….His glory!
Glory to God makes a lot of sense, you know.
That should happen for every blessing in our homes and hearts this Christmas and every day.
The bounty of His Christmas blessings began at Bethlehem and finished at an empty tomb, and will find final fulfillment on the Day of His return! Then at last, shall we sing our eternal praises of, “Glory to God in the highest!”