Jesus Christ Is the Reason for Christmas

December 24, 2020
Pastor Charles Nyamakope

Scripture Reading: Luke 2:1-20

Beloved friends, peace and grace to you. We gather here for many reasons tonight. What are your reasons? It is Christmas Eve, a time so many have been waiting for. Can you feel it? Can you feel that buzz in the air? Family members have arrived, phone calls are being made, words of love and greetings are exchanged. Friends, Jesus Christ is the reason for Christmas.

As Luke tells it in his Gospel, there were no expectations other than a birth. If mystery were in the air for Mary and Joseph, it was only the question of where Mary and Joseph could find a room. If there was beauty to be celebrated, it was only the glow of a mother with a child safely born. We want Jesus to be in our midst.

At Christmas time, we too want to let Jesus show – in our church, in our community, in our lives. Christ is born! Joy to the world! The Lord is come. And we are grateful. The nativity story from Luke 2 is so well known to us, we probably could recite it. But because of that, we may also gloss right over the terror and amazement and glorious joy in it. After all, you and I live in relative comfort and ease. But if we put ourselves with the shepherds on that night, we may experience something very different than the warm safety and rich beauty we experience here in this church and in our homes. Because at the time Jesus was born, shepherds were among the dirtiest, loneliest, most avoided people around.

The life of a shepherd was not easy. They spent most of their time outside watching their herds, no matter what the weather was, and the temperatures could be extreme. Usually, they would sleep near their flock to protect the sheep from thieves or wild animals. It was a quiet night, they are watching their flocks, making sure all are together and safe. Then boom! An angel of the Lord stands before them. And when the shepherds see the bright glory of God that accompanies the angel, they experience a healthy, holy fear – the fear of almighty God. Certainly, they had never seen anything like this before.

The angel tells them, do not be afraid. It is good news! It is great joy! For all the people – including you shepherds! Today a child is born who will be the Savior, the Messiah, the Lord. Now, these are simple shepherds – they probably have no idea of the theological impact of all of this, or what these names mean. All they needed to know, and maybe all we need to know, is that God has done something glorious and amazing- and its good news of great joy for all of us.


Let Jesus show!


“And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God … ” I love that word “suddenly” there. It is almost as if the praise of God could not be contained in heaven – it bursts out amid these simple, rough shepherds, as the whole heavenly host sings, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace …..”

And they go with haste and find Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. When they see this, they make known what had been told them about this child; and all who hear it are amazed. And then it is back to work for the shepherds. And yet they would never be the same again.

God’s good news is for everyone. For working-class, even impoverished shepherds possessing virtually nothing, and later for majestic magi possessing wealth, power and prestige. And God’s good news is for you and me.

I wonder what happened to the shepherds after this night. Obviously, they were changed. But they still had their work to do. Their position in society did not change. But I will bet they told everyone they could about their glorious experience. And they continue to bear witness through this story in Luke 2, year after year. They continue to let Jesus show.

You and I have probably never seen an angel stand before us; we have not heard heavenly angels sing praise to God. Or maybe we have and did not even realize it. Nevertheless, we have been given the good news. Jesus has come, our Savior, our Messiah, our Lord. After the holidays, when you get back to your routine, whether it involves shepherding sheep or not, how will this reality change your life? Who will you tell about it? Who will see this Jesus in the way you live your life?


Do not forget, Jesus Christ is the reason for Christmas. Amen.