The envelopes were piled up on the table, torn open, revealing each amount that was due. One that had loomed over my head for years was a student loan.
It had always been my plan to go to college. I didn’t know exactly what I would do, but I knew if I wanted something different for my life, stability and security, education was the key.
However, I had made poor decisions when it came to financing that education. My first year, I had a few scholarships, but given that I had chosen a private school to attend, it wasn’t even close to covering the cost. I sat alone in the financial aid office as the advisor slid the papers towards me.
“This will be a loan that you take out to cover the cost of your tuition.”
Without question, I signed. And my debt began. The next year, I went to a community college and definitely saved money on tuition. When the check came in from financial aid, I used it to buy my first car. My student loan was still out there, but it was deferred since I was still in school.
The following two years, I attended a state university, once again, taking out the maximum amount I could on student loans. That was the advice of my friends.
“You’ll get a good job out of college and be able to pay it back soon. Take the money now so you don’t have to worry about bills.”
I graduated, got my first professional job, and I was making a whopping $18,000 a year. This was with a bachelor’s degree. So much for that ability to pay that loan back quickly.
And here we were, years later, my husband opening the bill and still trying to pay it off. I had been paying it month by month, the minimum amount, which really meant I was paying mostly interest. The payment would always come due again. I didn’t think I’d ever be free from it. Once it was paid each month, there was momentary relief. But it was only temporary. That anxiety would creep back in each month as the bills rolled in.
But then, my husband did something I couldn’t hardly imagine.
He paid it in full.
It wasn’t his to pay, yet, because he loved me, he paid it all. I had incurred it, but he made the choice to pay the debt I couldn’t.
“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.”Luke 2:8-20
Shepherds. These guys were just in the fields minding their business, their sheep, when they witnessed one of the most incredible moments in their lives!
The Messiah was here! He had come! Just as the prophets had said, He would be found in Bethlehem, wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. They ran to see it for themselves and that’s exactly what they found. They were so elated, they ran to tell everyone they knew.
The Messiah was here!
But the question this morning is, why the shepherds? Why would they be the ones God had chosen for the angel to declare this to?
Their business was sheep. They were close by, so maybe they were the very shepherds that raised the lambs for the sacrifices in the temple.
See, everyone had to make a sin sacrifice in the temple. It was a reoccurring event that had to take place. Over and over they would make their way to the temple, purchase a lamb for the slaughter or bring their own, and the blood would be shed for their sin. Over and over.
But that night, lying in the manger wasn’t just any little newborn baby. He was Jesus, the lamb of God, who had come to be a sacrifice for our sins.
The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.John 1:29
See, because God loved us so much, He gave His Son Jesus to be our once and for all sacrifice. His blood would be shed for us. One time. It wasn’t His debt to pay, but He paid it in full.
And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.1 John 2:1-2
Paid in full.
It’s already been done. We’d be a fool not to accept His gift. Have you done that? Turn to Jesus today and accept His payment of your sins. Trust in Him to save you from the death and debt that you owe.