Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "What Child Is This"1 (Lyrics)
Luke 2:8-12 – Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 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 Saviour, 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." (NKJV)
Little did these poor shepherds realize that they would be the first to visit Him who would become the greatest teacher ever known, who would walk on water, heal the sick, cast out demons in tormented souls, and make the lame to walk, the blind to see, and the dead to rise. Little did they know that this Babe in the manger in Bethlehem, wrapped in swaddling cloths, was conceived by the Holy Spirit, the Son of the living God, who would become the gentle, loving, kind Man who would give His life for mankind and indeed be the Saviour of our sin-sick world. But why did God need to become man in order to accomplish that?
For years, I wondered about this question. I would contemplate that there must have been some other way for our Lord to have saved us from our sin. I just could not understand the reasoning behind God sending His Son to earth to become man and die for me.
And then one day, I heard the story of Peter and the Hermit:
In a cabin on a beautiful mountain in Switzerland, high above the village, there lived an old man. The villagers didn't really know him, so they just called him the Hermit. As Christmas approached, Peter, the son of the local pastor, decided to invite him to the Christmas service. However, it took him longer to make the climb than he had thought, so as dusk was approaching, the Hermit invited him to stay the night. When Peter indicated that he had come to invite the Hermit to the Christmas service, he made it quite plain that he would not attend, because it was the celebration of the birth of Jesus, and he did not believe in Him. "Why would God, who is so great and powerful, even become a human being or get involved with such miserable creatures?" he asked.
Suddenly, they heard a flock of birds outside in the snow, lost in the storm, and attracted by the light in the cabin. The Hermit went outside to give them some food, but they flew away, afraid. He couldn't make them understand that he wanted to save them. "I would have to become a bird, too, in order to make them understand," he said to Peter.
Then, the light went on in the old man's mind, and he realized that that was the reason that God sent His Son to earth. God's Son had to become man so that people could understand the message of salvation that He was bringing to the world. He had to become man so that He could minister to those He loved enough to die for. He became man so that we might hear and understand His Word.
The next morning, Peter and the Hermit started down the mountain to attend the Christmas service.
After hearing that wonderful illustration, I never again wondered why God sent Christ to earth to become man. I understood the true meaning of Christmas, and like the shepherds of old, I, too, went to the manger, where I personally met Christ, the Babe born in Bethlehem. If you do not know this wonderful Lord, claim Him today and make Him the true meaning of Christmas in your life. Let us never, never forsake Christ or take Him out of our celebration at Christmas.
Prayer: Eternal Father, how thankful we are that You loved us enough to send Your Son to redeem us through His precious blood. May we never forget the heartache, scorn, and betrayal that He endured, as man, before facing the cross and dying there on our behalf. As we look forward to the Christmas season, may we glorify the name of Christ in all our family and church activities, in all that we do and say. May those who do not know Christ as their Saviour realize by our conduct and attitude that we are faithful followers of that dear Babe. Lord, thank You for the best Christmas gift ever, the gift of Your dear Son! Amen.