May 10, 2016

Out-of-Season Gospel?

Luke 2:8-20

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven. . . .”

—  Luke 2:13-14

Why are we reading the Christmas story in May, when our minds are looking ahead to summer fun? Isn’t this out of season? Not really. We need the Luke 2 story to train our senses to keep alive the gospel narrative. God wants ever to refresh us with the biblical story of his coming to save us.

Shepherds were forgotten people in the first-century Middle East. They were working stiffs on the low rung of society. And yet the good news of Jesus’ invasion into the world came to the lonely fields of Palestine. God chose the weak, lowly, and forgotten people as the best vehicle to trust with an impossible dream (“Do not be afraid”), unbelievable news (“in the town of David a Savior has been born”), and evidence of grace and mercy (“this will be a sign to you”). Then an angel choir broke out in triumphant praise. The shepherds heard the first private concert in the New Testament. The cost was free. The concert hall was their fields. And the music was straight from heaven. 

God gave these shepherds a glimpse of heaven, and they were never the same again! They could not keep the Christ­mas news to themselves.

Salvation has come, and we are saved. That’s something to sing about—whatever the season!

Holy Spirit, we have been looking forward to summer things, but help us never to forget the song of salvation that never ­changes, no matter what the season. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

About the author — Reginald Smith

Dr. Reginald Smith is senior pastor at Roosevelt Park Community Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he has served for seventeen years. He has also served as a pastor in Paterson, New Jersey. He and his wife, Sharon, have three daughters, Janelle, Katrina, and Mariah.

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