Last Saturday, in
LESSONS ON REBIRTH FROM THE CHRISTMAS STORY, Part 1, we saw that the
Christmas story, the birth of Jesus, is a beautiful symbol of a vital
part of every Christian life: The rebirth process that we must undergo
to enter into the new life in Christ that we have been promised. We then
saw that just like Jesus' miraculous conception by the Holy Spirit in
the womb of a virgin, the rebirth process is also begun by the Holy
Spirit in a heart that does not even seek after God!
Our story today takes us to the shepherds' fields: "And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, 'Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.' And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: 'Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!'" (Luke 2:9-14)
Wouldn't you have liked to be there?
There is little more beautiful than a well-trained, full choir, and this choir would have been the best that will ever grace this planet until Jesus' return!
But what does this have to teach us about the rebirth process?
Just this: Just like there was great rejoicing among the Heavenly hosts when Jesus was born, the Bible tells us that there is great rejoicing in Heaven when one of God's stray children comes home! "Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents." (Luke 15:10 NKJV)
Jesus gave this poignant statement after telling a powerful story: "What woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls her friends and neighbors together, saying, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found the piece which I lost!'" (Luke 15:8-9 NKJV)
And what about this one?
"What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying? And if he should find it, assuredly, I say to you, he rejoices more over that sheep than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray." (Matt 18:12-14 NKJV)
Not convinced yet? Then consider the story of the prodigal son. The Bible tells us that the father saw him when he was "still a great way off" (Luke 15:20a), and when he saw him, he "had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him." (Luke 15:20b).
What did he do next?
"the father said to his servants, 'Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.'" (Luke 15:22-24)
And when later questioned about his actions, the father said, "It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found." (Luke 15:32)
Friends, when we accept Jesus' gift of salvation, we are born again! The Spirit of the living God comes and dwells within us! And just like the Heavenly choir heralded the birth of our Lord and Savoir, there is great rejoicing in Heaven over the return of just one of God's wayward children!
So this Christmas as you watch the Christmas pageant, notice the angel choir. Don't just pass over it to get to the punch line of the story. Instead, let it be a reminder to you that when we are saved, a miracle happens! We are born again, and when we are, there is GREAT REJOICING in Heaven!
Please join us next Saturday for LESSONS ON REBIRTH FROM THE CHRISTMAS STORY, Part 3: The Star in the East.
In His love,
Lyn Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two teens, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, www.scripturalnuggets.org, with Answers2Prayer Ministries, www.Answers2Prayer.org.
(To access the entire "Lessons on Rebirth from the Christmas Story" mini-series, please click here.)