Rev Nathan: Do not be afraid, there is good news for you and yours this season

Torbay Weekly

The vaccination race and queues remind me of a national event over 2,000 years ago when King Herod instructed all people to return home for a census.

Disappointed, exhausted, weary, the people followed what was asked of them.

History books tell us that it was a busy and hard time for many with very little room for some to even find a place to rest or a midwife to attend to those who were in labour.

I know that our times are slightly different but somewhat the busyness strikes a chord.

It was in the middle of this busyness that the Saviour of the World was born in Bethlehem.

Many have written about these events and one of the earliest documents written by a scientist called Dr Luke records the miracles that surrounded the season saying: “And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.

"An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.

"But the angel said to them 'Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. (NIV)'."

We are told that there were shepherds going about their trade.

In the middle of the darkness, dazzling light appeared and with it was the announcement of the good news.

This good news was the beginning of a future that has shaped generations.

Shepherds were ordinary popular people. They produced some of the sheep for the temple sacrifices and the busy Inns but they were not priority guests to the temples or season ticket holders.

Despite not having a positive status in society, they had an important job.

They inspected every first lamb and ensured that it was fit to be the sacrifice at the temple.

God chose to meet the shepherds on their own turf.

He knew that they would not be allowed into the palace if he made his earthly entry in a palace.

They would not make it to the temple because they were not good enough for the standards of temple worship but in the eyes of God, they were a part of his redemptive plan.

He, therefore, chose a stable so that they would have full access to the awaited saviour.

Further still, he wanted them to inspect this baby who would later be the living sacrifice for all.

Shepherds were among the first people to offer a stamp of approval to what was to come.

As you read this, you may be feeling that this is a long dark season and perhaps one of your darkest winters, you may be feeling exhausted, you may be feeling alone and disconnected from the ones you love by the last minute eventualities, you may be feeling like you are not good enough and you may also feel that you are unworthy of God’s love.

This testimony of the shepherds is your humble encouragement that God loves you and wants to be yours this Christmas.

God will meet you in those places where you are operating from.

This Saviour Born in Bethlehem is here as a gift to you.

He is the light that shines in our darkness, he is the friend to the broken hearted, the cheated, the lonely, the bereaved, those with plenty and those with little.

Make room to welcome him again in your heart and you will experience the peace that goes beyond our understanding.

Do not be afraid as this is good news.

News that will cause you great joy not for a few people but all people starting with you.

Merry Christmas to you from my house to yours.