The angel said to Joseph concerning Mary, “She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).
Note the angel did not say He’d save all people, but HIS people from their sins.

On the night of his birth the angels sang to the shepherds, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” (Luke 2:14) Note “those with whom he is pleased,” not all people.

Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me…” (John 10:14). That strongly implies a select portion of the whole. And his last words on the cross were, “It is finished” (John 19:30). He had given his life–finished his rescue mission–atoning for the sins of his people. The Good Shepherd died on the cross, then rose from the dead that his people with whom he is pleased would have eternal life with him. It’s a miraculous mystery of divine love, that God would save his chosen with his own blood, the blood of that babe born God/man in a manger. Why he would choose to call a rascal like me his people is a baffling part of his inscrutable will. I bow in adoration and wonder and gratitude. He is the Gift that all gifts under all Christmas trees represent and honor. This, then, is the question to ask yourself this Advent season–the ultimate question: “Does this Gift have my name on it?”

“For the Lord has comforted his people … Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands…” (Isaiah 49:13, 16).

See you in church.

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