His Favored People. One of my favorite parts of the Christmas story is the angelic appearance to the shepherds. I am encouraged and blessed by meditating on God’s activity revealed to the poor and undesirable. The exultation of the angels, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to people He favors,” (Luke 2:14, CSB), reminds me that these dirty shepherds were favored by God. They were the ones who were made aware of God’s plan to bring peace through His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. We are favored by God. How do we know? Every born-again follower of Christ has received the peace of God. For He is our peace, who made both groups one and tore down the dividing wall of hostility. In his flesh, He made of no effect the law consisting of commands and expressed in regulations, so that he might create in himself one new man from the two, resulting in peace, (Ephesians 2:14-15, CSB). His shalom (peace) has been extended to us through the atoning work of our Lord Jesus and the indwelling presence of His Spirit. The favor of God and the peace of God was made known to the shepherds and they headed off to see the Christ-child. When they had seen Him, they returned glorifying and praising God, (Luke 2:20). You and I have received just as much grace as those shepherds. God has shown glorious favor to us in making the Gospel known to us. We have perfect peace with God and can have peace with one another because of this glorious salvation. If these things are true, shouldn’t we also go on our way glorifying and praising God? I pray we will glorify Him in our worship, our giving, and our witnessing this holiday season. He is worthy!
Next Year. I want to make everyone aware of something coming soon. We will be introducing a new Bible reading plan toward the end the month for next year called Foundations. This reading plan will be similar to our Family Bible Readings from last year. There will be some differences. The readings will give us an overview of the whole Bible over the course of the year. You may purchase a study book that will have the daily reading for each day, a bit of commentary, and space for some notes. There are study books for adults, teens, and children, and can be purchased through the Lifeway website. If you would like to order a book, but need help navigating the online purchase, we would be glad to assist you in the church office. We will publish the reading schedule each week in the bulletin and each month in the newsletter. I am looking forward to leading my family through the Bible next year!