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Great Expectations - The Visitation

Luke 2:8 That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. 9 Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, 10 but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. 11 The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! 12 And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.” 13 Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”

Shepherds in the field guarding their flocks of sheep? I like the way scripture states that the angel appeared among them. The angel was in the midst of where they were and made this awesome announcement. The angel said "I bring good news" and that is the good news we have the opportunity to share with every person we meet. At Christmas, all of these thoughts and intentions seem to come back to life again, and we don't even need a spiritual being to prompt us. The Holy Spirit; compels us to share this good news everywhere we go and it really is "Good News."

After the angel had told them what was going to happen the other angels, the armies of heaven, began praising God. Their words as recorded in the above scripture were 14 “Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.” Oh, for us to sing Glory to God as they did. And we can sing it like they did if we will only realize, as they did, the magnitude of this holy visitation, or birth of our Savior. Jesus is born. Praise God!

Jesus was on this earth for a very short time (in God's timing), and the time for all that was to happen began in the manger and ended in an empty tomb, where resurrection was accomplished so that we might live a resurrected life. This short visitation where Jesus lived in the midst of man is much more significant than the angels appearing in the midst of those shepherds. The angel's announcement was of the coming birth. The announcement of the second coming of our Savior is recorded in 1 Thessalonians 5:2 For you know quite well that the day of the Lord’s return will come unexpectedly, like a thief in the night. The birth of the Messiah or Emmanuel was different than expected, as only God can do. The second coming will be even more unexpected and of course, we will be singing Glory to God in the highest at that time as well. Jesus will come in our midst on this holy visitation and take us home to paradise. Later in that Thessalonian chapter, we read in verse 10 Christ died for us so that, whether we are dead or alive when he returns, we can live with him forever.

On the next visitation, Jesus will take us home and our eternity in heaven will be realized. Glory to God!! You see the order HIS BIRTH - OUR SPIRITUAL BIRTH - HIS VISITATION - OUR DEPARTURE. Until that departure, we need to heed this verse. 1 Peter 2:12 Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God on the day of visitation.

The Pilgrimage Continues...

David Warren

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