This is probably one of the best known prophecies in the Old Testament with its reference to Bethlehem as the birthplace of the Messiah and paraphrased in Matthew 2:6, "But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will be the shepherd of my people Israel." Even as Christmas approaches, we are so thankful to God that more than 2,000 years ago, He sent His Son to be born on this Earth so that Jesus Christ might be our Saviour and our Shepherd. For He will come not just to save a people but to shepherd them.
No wonder the angelic choir sang for joy: "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests" (Luke 2:14). Indeed, glory to God in the highest, for He has given us peace (harmony with God, others and nature) and has also give us His favour. When we receive Jesus Christ into our hearts, we not only receive His peace but also His favour--we have become God's favourites! In receiving God's Christmas gift, we have nothing to lose (except our pride) but everything to gain! On Christmas Day 2,000 years ago, God made humankind an offer they cannot refuse: He has offered us a salvation (divine peace and favour) that is free because it's fully paid by the blood of Christ.
As we prepare ourselves for Christmas, may our hearts be filled with songs of praise and joy even as we hear the carols being played in shopping malls. One of my favourite carols is "O Holy Night!" The first stanza goes as follows:
O Holy Night! The stars are brightly shining
It is the night of the dear Saviour's birth
Long lay the world in sin and error pining
Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn
Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angel voices!
O night divine, O night when Christ was born
O night, divine, O night, O night divine!
Listen to Carrie Underwood sings this carol here:
Father, thank You that You have made us Your favourites by giving us a Saviour and a Shepherd. Amen.