Have you ever encountered someone you thought was unapproachable? You know, that person who never seems to smile or the man who walks with his head down, or that woman who always has her nose pointing up. It just seems that some people are inaccessible to the average person. Would it surprise you to know that some people perceive God to be unapproachable? When reading Old Testament Scripture, it is easy to draw that conclusion. For example, anyone not permitted to touch the ark of the covenant would be struck down, i.e., dead. In the course of his temple duties, if the priest were to make a mistake, he would be struck down. However, nothing could be further from the truth because God is accessible, approachable, and the Christmas story conveys that understanding all too clearly.
“Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth. This was the first census taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all the people were on their way to register for the census, each to his own city. Now Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, in order to register along with Mary, who was betrothed to him, and was pregnant. While they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.”Luke 2:1-7
It is not ironic that a census was in progress and that it required people to return to their hometown, the place where they were born. Nor is it unexpected that Mary goes into labor when they arrive in the city, and they discover there is no room for them at the inn. I can imagine that Joseph was a mental train wreck at this point, with Mary having labor pains and seemingly nowhere to take her for comfort and proper care. As recorded in Scripture, they did indeed find refuge among the livestock. There, Jesus was born into the world and placed in a manger or feeding trough. However, it was not the majestic nativity scenes we are accustomed to seeing during the Christmas season. Instead, it was likely a damp, dark, smelly, filthy place with animal urine and feces all around. So why did the Son of God choose to enter the world in such a dismal undignified setting?
“In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock at night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood near them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. And so the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly army of angels praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among people with whom He is pleased.”Luke 2:8-14
The angel of the Lord or the messenger from God appears not to kings and world leaders or people of influence; instead, the angel appears to shepherds in the field. The job of a shepherd did not rank high on the employment scale in those days. It was seen as unclean, dirty work that left those performing the tasks excluded from religious activities, a trait that is still present in some modern-day churches. The shepherds of that day must have likely felt that God was far from them and that they were unworthy to approach Him. But God chose for Jesus to be born among them and be accessible to them. Shepherds would not be allowed to enter a king’s palace or a temple, but they could easily walk among the livestock to see a baby lying in a manger, just as the angel told them—a Savior who is for all the people.
“Christ belongs to all people, He belongs to the whole world!”Rev. Billy Graham
How true! Just as Christ made Himself available to the shepherds of long ago, so He also makes Himself accessible to all people today. It does not matter if you are a trash collector or a brain surgeon, a clerk or chief executive. The color of your skin does not matter to Jesus, nor does it matter to Him where you live in the world or what kind of ill-sorted past you have. Jesus wants a personal relationship with you–yes, you! He wants to reconcile your relationship with His Father in heaven so that one day, where He is, there you can also be forever. Jesus came into the world for the single purpose of saving you and me from certain eternal death. To accept God’s gift of grace through Jesus Christ, we must have a personal relationship with Jesus, and to do so, He must be accessible to everyone, and He is just like it were with the shepherds in the field.
Perhaps you have yet to accept Jesus as your Savior and Lord. To accept Jesus as your personal Savior and Lord and be cleansed, forgiven of sin, by His life-saving blood, then all you need to do is call upon His name right now in prayer. You can either lift your prayer or use the prayer below as a guide, but remember, you must confess you are a sinner, that you believe Jesus is the Son of God who died on a cross for your sins and that he rose from the grave. You must do this with a heart of repentance, meaning you will turn away from your sin, from that which displeases God. Understand that you are not coming to Christ by way of intellectual ascent, but by faith. Let us pray.
Dear God, I know that I am a sinner and ask for your forgiveness with a heart of repentance. By faith, I believe that Jesus is Your only begotten Son who died on a cross for my sins. I believe that you raised Him from the dead and that He now sits at Your right hand. I humbly confess Him as my Savior and Lord, and I welcome the Holy Spirit into my life to help and guide me along the narrow path that leads to eternal life in heaven. Thank Father, and I lift this prayer to You in the blessed and holy name of Jesus, Amen.
If you prayed that prayer or lifted your own to invite Jesus into your life as your Savior and Lord, welcome to the family of God! We ask that you please leave a comment below so we can rejoice with you and pray for you. Please be encouraged to also contact a Christian friend or your local Bible-believing church and tell your friend or someone at the church that you accepted Jesus into your life. That person will gladly guide you in the steps ahead to help you grow stronger in your faith and closer to God.
On behalf of the team here at A Faithful Sower, Merry Christmas!