将临期灵修 | 12月24日

主的荣耀向牧羊人显现

Rev. Dr. Richard Gurgel作/ MLC出版

9有主的使者站在他们旁边,主的荣光四面照着他们,牧羊的人就甚惧怕。10那天使对他们说:“不要惧怕,我报给你们大喜的信息,是关乎万民的。11因今天在大卫的城里,为你们生了救主,就是主基督。12你们要看见一个婴孩,包着布,卧在马槽里,那就是记号了。” ——路加福音2章9-12节

基督降生的日子是人类历史的中心。这不仅仅是在说人类的公元纪年系统是以基督的出生为中心,而是说亚当堕落犯罪之后,所有人类的历史都在为这一天做准备,“及至时候满足”(加拉太书4章4节)。

基督的降生让我们瞥见天上的荣耀,这荣耀充满这些灵修,这荣耀使当时困倦的牧羊人惧怕。

当天使宣告救主和弥赛亚降生的巨大喜悦之后,那些牧羊人在伯利恒发现的令人震惊。天使告诉牧羊人要寻找的记号,并不是一个闪亮的身影让伯利恒充满光明,或者让高山在神的权能之下震动。

这个记号之所以令人震惊,不是因为它的权能,而是因为它的低微。牧羊人会找到什么呢?一个婴孩。他没有穿着天国华丽的服装,而是穿着普通的尿布。他甚至不在屋子里,他贫穷的父母无法获得正常的庇护。弥撒亚,主,安息在喂食的槽子里。

但是别搞错了:在这里有着丰盛的荣耀。这就是神的荣耀,他来不是让我们惧怕、宣告我们有罪(尽管他确实有权这样做),他来是拯救我们。这就是他隐藏的神圣权能的荣耀,为的是恢复我们已经失去的神的形象。

基督降生的荣耀不会驱使我们在惧怕中下拜,而是使我们在惊奇和颂赞中下拜。感谢神,你看到了那个被襁褓裹在食槽里的婴孩的荣耀!

主耶稣基督啊,你的马槽就是我的天堂,我在那里安歇;主啊,因为在那里我们找到了为我们道成肉身的你——你的荣耀闪闪发光。阿们。

The Glory of the Lord Appeared to Shepherds

An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Luke 2:9-12

Christmas is history’s center. It’s not just our dating system that centers in Christ’s birth. All history after Adam’s fall prepared for this day “when the time had fully come” (Galatians 4:4).

It’s not surprising then that Christmas brings another glimpse of the heavenly glory that has filled these devotions as glorious angels terrify sleepy shepherds.

But after those angels announce the great joy of the Savior and Messiah’s birth, what is stunning is what the shepherds would find in Bethlehem. The sign they tell the shepherds to look for is not a shining figure filling Bethlehem with light and shaking the hills with his divine majesty.

The sign is amazing not for its majesty but its humility. What will they find? A baby. And not in shining heavenly attire but in the common diapers of the day. And not even in a house. His poor mother and stepfather couldn’t obtain normal shelter. The Messiah, the Lord, is resting in a feeding trough.

But don’t be fooled: there’s glory there in abundance. It’s the glory of the God who didn’t come to terrify and condemn us (though he had every right to do so), but to rescue us. It’s the glory of his divine majesty hidden to restore our created majesty lost.

The glory of Christmas doesn’t drive us to our knees in terror. It brings us to our knees in wonder and praise. Thank God that you have seen the glory of that swaddled baby in a feeding trough!

O Jesus Christ, your manger is my paradise at which I am reclining. For there, O Lord, we find the Word made flesh for us—your grace is brightly shining. Amen. (CW 342:1)

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