It’s Christmas Eve, and you may still have a couple of gifts yet to locate. Usually, this is for someone who has everything they want, or at least everything they need. So what do you get the person who has everything? I know ….
But before I tell you, let me welcome you to “Mornings with Bishop Robert” — thanks for joining me on Christmas Eve.
Sarah Assbring is also known by her stage name of “El Pero del Mar.” Neither name is what one would likely consider “famous.” She’s been an indie pop musician in Sweden for a couple of decades or so; her music often focusing on hope and loneliness, sometimes at the same time.
She did, however, hit the nail on the head with her single “God Knows.”
God knows I’ve been taking a lot without giving back
You gotta give to get
You gotta give to get back to the love
And there you have it – the message of Christmas in a nutshell. Well, almost.
I’m going to use Sarah’s song to unpack today’s verse.
GLORY TO GOD IN THE HIGHEST HEAVEN, AND PEACE ON EARTH TO THOSE WITH WHOM GOD IS PLEASED
Angels appeared in the fields outside of Bethlehem, and the shepherds wrestled with the meaning of their message. Sarah was right, you’ve got to give to get back; give glory to back love. The purpose of the angels message was to deliver an invitation and an announcement.
Let me give you the Bishop Robert Version of the angel’s proclamation:
“Surprise !!!! God is here, and He’s closer than you think. And guess what ?? He wants to meet you!! Yes, YOU !!! Don’t be afraid, because this is really good news. To underscore how approachable He wants to be, He’s come as a newborn babe. But, so you don’t forget who He really is, here’s a small glimpse of how heaven adores Him:
GLORY TO GOD IN THE HIGHEST HEAVEN, AND PEACE ON EARTH TO THOSE WITH WHOM GOD IS PLEASED.”
Sarah was right, God knows How much we need Him. He uses the original singing telegram to deliver His message: “GLORY TO GOD INTHE HIGHEST HEAVEN.” The shepherds responded by seeking Him. When they found the Holy Family, they found what their faith had been training them to seek – The Messiah.
This was the first time in history that someone wrestled with the age old Christmas dilemma – what do you give the person who has everything? If there was ever someone who has everything, it is God! He not only HAS everything, He created everything.
When you finally “find God” His incredible generosity touches your heart. It dawns on you that you’ve “God knows you’ve been taking a lot without giving back,” and you want to change that. But you’re stuck with the question, “What can you give to God ???”
And there is only ONE answer to that question. The only thing you have to offer God is something so precious that the Almighty would never TAKE it from you; you have to offer it to Him willingly. It is the gift of YOU. Yourself. Your love. Your life. YOU are what God wants for Christmas.
Sarah was right, you gotta give to get back to the love. Love is waiting for your decision, He is waiting for you to give yourself. He came and offered Himself to you. Now He is waiting for you to reciprocate. He won’t force you. He’s waiting. And nothing would make Him happier.
That brings us to the second part of today’s verse.
PEACE ON EARTH TO THOSE WITH WHOM GOD IS PLEASED
When you give YOU to God, He seals the transaction with His Holy Spirit. You become a new creation. Then you and He can live in peace because the sin that separated the two of you is eliminated. God commands even the memory of your sin to be gone from His presence.
How far away does He send our sin? Oh, only as far as the east is from the west. Consider that for a moment. If He had said “as far as the north is from the south” then your sins would only be about 40,000 kilometers away. You can only head north for so long before you are automatically heading south. Now for some of you, 40,000 kilometers may be far enough. Not for me. My sins were so vile I’d still be able to smell the stench from that distance.
But when He says “as far as the east is from the west” that’s a different story. You can travel east forever and NEVER get to west. He removes our sin to Neverland, so to speak. He will never recall them, because He has made His peace with you.
When you offer YOU, it pleases Him so greatly that He offers you HIM !!! And He proclaims a peace treaty between the two of you. You give glory, He gives grace.
Because He knows that you desperately need to be freed from your sin.
He knows that His peace is really what you’ve been asking for, even if you didn’t know that yet.
He knows who He has created you to be, even if you don’t know that yet.
GLORY and GRACE – the keys to God’s peace.
Sarah was right. God knows.