Our God is a God of wonders. What I mean is he causes us to wonder. Has God ever caused you to wonder in awe? For example, Who would imagine a king born to peasants and born in a stable?
It was decided "Who Would Imagine a King" would be our theme for our Christmas Celebration this year. As I began preparation, I let my imagination run.
I began to imagine our world without our King. What would that be like? Can you imagine a world without Jesus? Of what religion would you be? Would you worship Zeus, or Atlas, or Aphrodite as the Gentiles did prior to Jesus? Would you become a Judaist, or Buddhist, or Hindu, or be a Muslim? Would we radically fly jet aircraft into buildings, strapping on bombs exploding ourselves killing as many people as possible in vile hate? Who would imagine a world without King Jesus?
Would there even be an America close to anything we know? Would the Roman Empire still rule? Or perhaps Nazi Germany or Imperial Japan would rule. What kind of person would you be? How hateful would people be? Within what "boundaries" would any of us operate? Would women have any rights? What guide in life would we have? There was a time in the Bible when it was this way.
Judges 21:25 At that time there was NO KING in Israel. People did whatever they felt like doing.
It was a very chaotic time. Imagine what this would be like? It sounds as if life would be fun, but it was not. Apocalyptic movies portray how it could be if people did whatever they felt like doing. Gang violence and the biggest gun wins would be the way of life. If someone wanted what I had - my money, my house, my wife, my daughter - and could out power me, they would take it with no penalties. Who would imagine a world like this?
Atheist and Jesus haters would not want a world like this, but that's what it would be without our King Jesus. Atheist would scream and mourn in agony were it not for Jesus. What chaos! What pandemonium. Imagine a world of fear and hate. Imagine a world without Jesus as king. I was thinking. This wonder alone should make every person alive believe in Jesus Christ. Who would imagine?
Who would imagine God would turn chaos and confusion upside down with a baby? A baby? A helpless, crying, dirty diaper, totally dependent baby? Who would imagine God would bring salvation to the world through a baby? Who would imagine God will end hate and evil with a baby? He's a God of wonders!
They say Christmas is under attack as if this is something new. It's always been under attack. There's no attack on Easter. No one complains about a cross, but set up a Nativity Scene or Christmas tree and you've got a battle. Here's why. Evil hates the wonder of the baby. People may be afraid to approach God, but who's afraid to approach a baby? Every year, in some way, in some form, even those far from God at Christmas unknowingly approach the baby Jesus. God draws people to him through a baby, but who would imagine a king?
I imagine the wonder of God concerning the Shepherds. Who would imagine the first people to hear of the birth of the king, other than Mary and Joseph, would be shepherds. Let's read some of the Christmas story.
Luke 2:7-18 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. And THERE WERE IN THE SAME COUNTRY SHEPHERDS ABIDING IN THE FIELD, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I BRING YOU good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For UNTO YOU IS BORN this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto YOU; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this THING which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto US. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, THEY MADE KNOWN ABROAD the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it WONDERED at those things which were told them by the SHEPHERDS.
To us, the shepherds are a sweet additive to our nativity scenes. However, shepherds were the low-life of society. A person who wouldn't work and hold a "real job" became a shepherd. We might think of them as today's street people, alcoholics, drug addicts, pot heads, etc. A person running from the law became a shepherd. They were the bottom of the bottom and considered "unclean" by the religion and society and not allowed into the temple to worship. Shepherds were outcasts. Yet, God in his wonders chose Shepherds to be the first to hear about, first to see, and the first to be entrusted with the news of the Savior's birth other than Mary and Joseph. Who would imagine a king viewed by shepherds of all people?
Who would imagine shepherds? Why not kings and queens and nobles? Even Herod the king of the region had to be told by magi who had to figure it all out. Why low-life shepherds? The message of salvation through a king baby is for everyone and everyone can proclaim it. Is that not a wonder of God? If God loved shepherds and entrusted his message of a King Savior with shepherds, I can rest assured he loves me and entrusts me to tell it abroad, and I have.
As the shepherds spread the news, all they that heard it WONDERED. They wondered. They went to see this thing which has come to pass, but WHO WOULD IMAGINE A KING?
The song says,
And the angels were singing your name
That the WORLD WOULD BE DIFFERENT cuz you were alive
That's what heaven stood still to proclaim...
WHO WOULD IMAGINE A KING."
It was difficult to imagine then and continues today to be difficult to imagine a king. John Lennon encouraged us to "imagine there's no heaven and no hell below." He said it's easy if you try. We've gotten it backward. Even knowing how different our world is cuz he is alive, we still struggle with imagining a king. How about you? If you struggle, do what the shepherds did? There is no more perfect time. Go see this thing which has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to you.
© Life Gate Ministries