The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Opinion

December 21, 2013

The greatest story ever told

ENID, Okla. — “Behold, I bring you good news of a great joy, which will come to all people. For to you is born this day in the City of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” ~ Luke 2:10-11

God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, in Galilee, to visit a young virgin girl named Mary, who was pledged to marry Joseph, a carpenter and descendant of the house of David.

“Hail, O favored one,” the angel said. “Don’t be afraid, for you are highly favored of God.”

But when Mary saw him, she was troubled and confused at what he said and kept wondering what such a greeting could mean. She listened carefully as the angel prophesized she would become pregnant and give birth to a son whose name would be called Jesus. He would be great and would be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord would give to Him the throne of His forefather David. And He would reign over the house of Jacob and of His reign there would be no end. (Isaiah 9:6-7; Daniel 2:44)

“How can this be?” Mary asked the angel. “I’m a virgin. I have known no man!”

The angel answered “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth, your relative, is going to have a child in her old age. It was said that she is barren, yet, is in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God.”

“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary said. “May it be done unto me as you have said.” Then the angel left her.

So the Holy Spirit hovered over Mary, and she conceived the Word of God in her womb and then gave birth to it. “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.” (John 1:14)

Mary made herself ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea to see Elizabeth. And when Elizabeth heard Mary’s voice, the baby leaped within her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost. With a shout she cried out, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear!”

Elizabeth was humbled by Mary’s visit and asked why she would be favored and deserving of this honor, that the mother of her Lord would grace her home.

“As soon as your voice hit my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy!” Elizabeth told Mary with great excitement. “For blessed is she who has believed that there would be a fulfillment of the things that were spoken to her from the Lord.” And Mary and Elizabeth magnified the Lord together. Mary stayed with Elizabeth for three months.

Now, in those days, Caesar Augustus decreed that a census should be taken of the Roman world. And everyone went to his own town to register.

Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David. He went there with Mary, his wife, who was about to become a mother.

While they were in Bethlehem, Mary gave birth to a son, her firstborn; and she wrapped Him in swaddling clothes and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room or place for them in the inn (Luke 2:1-7).

A few miles outside of town shepherds were living in the fields, keeping watch over their flocks at night. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared before them, and the glory of the Lord shone all around them; and they were very afraid.

The angel said, “Do not be afraid, I bring you good news of great joy, that will be for all people. For today, in the city of David, a Savior is born to you. He is Christ the Lord. You will find Him wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. This will be a sign that you have found the Christ Child.”

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What an awe-inspiring night those shepherds must have had. I would liked to have been a fly on the staff of one of those shepherds as they watched and listened to heaven’s first carolers as they magnified God, singing His praises with the most beautiful harmony heaven has ever known. “Shhhh, can you hear it?”

Throughout the Bible, we read accounts of angels appearing before men. But this night was different. This night was unlike any other, for it was the night of Jesus’ birth. The night the Promised Seed was born, as foretold in the Book of Isaiah.

“... Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call His name Immanuel, meaning God with us. For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder; and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father of Eternity, the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 7:14 & 9:6).

Think about it, Jesus was sitting comfortably at the right hand of His Father in heaven. Yet He willingly took upon Himself the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men (Philippians 2:7). Even though He was still God, Jesus became a man in order to legally redeem us from sin. He became our substitute, the supreme sacrifice, the ultimate offering for sin, that we might be reconciled to the Father.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved (John 3:16-17).”

And that, my friends, is Christmas — a celebration of the Word of the Lord made flesh, and coming to rest in the hearts of man all over the world. The gift that keeps on giving.

I believe the salvation of souls touches the heart of the Father like nothing else can, for it was for this reason Jesus left the right hand of the Father and came to Earth. “... to seek and to save that which was lost (Luke 19:10).”

The Bible says, “Great joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth ... (Luke 15:7).”

In the midst of a world at war, and rumors of war, a world of sin, disease and poverty, let us proclaim with the heavenly host “Glory to God in the highest, peace and good will toward men.”

Shhhhh, there’s that choir again. Can you hear it?

Merry Christmas, my friends, and God bless you one and all!

Happy Birthday Jesus!

We celebrate you!

After all ... You are the reason for the season!

Keep the faith and worship somewhere today.

Sorrels is News & Eagle editorial assistant and can be reached at psorrels@enidnews.com or at (580) 548-8140.

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