‘And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.
9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.
10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.
11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.’
What a difference a day makes. How often do you say that or have others say it to you? What a difference a day makes. One day you are 15 years of age and are not permitted to drive, then the next day you turn 16, and you are allowed to drive. What a difference a day makes. One day you are slaving away at work, the next you are taking it easy on the weekend. What a difference a day makes.
In one day, one moment, one time in history, God bursts into the world to make a difference. In one day He made a difference to the life of Mary and Joseph. One day they are a couple, the next, they are parents. In one day He made a difference in the lives of the shepherds. One day they are tending their flocks at night, the next they are standing in the presence of Christ the Lord.
In one day the magnificent songs of praise and adoration to God are only sung in heaven, the next the whole earth is filled with the sound of angels singing ‘glory to God in the highest and on earth peace among the people of his favour’. What a difference a day makes. What a difference the Christ child makes.
In one day God made a difference to the world. One day the world was without a saviour, living in hope for the day to arrive, when God would come and redeem his people. The next, in the town of Bethlehem, in a manger, Christ the saviour of the world is born. What a difference a day makes; what a difference the Christ child makes.
That’s why the angel said ‘I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people. For today, yes today in the town of David a saviour has been born to you; He is the Christ.’ Today is the day of God’s favour, today is the day the Lord has made. Forget about yesterday, forget about what it was like before the Christ, forget about the searching and emptiness of yesterday. Today has arrived, today Jesus the Christ child is here. Here to make a difference. There is now hope, there is now a saviour who has come into the world to restore the relationship between God and the world. What a difference a day makes.
What difference will today make for you? What difference will a day make in your life? Today, as we join with the shepherds and angels in glorifying and praising God, for the Christ child, what difference will it make in your life? What difference will Jesus make in your life? The angels rejoiced, the shepherds praised, and Mary treasured him in her heart. What will you do?
Can we leave from here today as if it was yesterday? Can we go home without rejoicing like the angels, without praising like the shepherds? Can we leave here today without pondering in our heart what today will bring? What blessing we receive in the birth of Jesus, what the gift of salvation means for us?
Today, let us leave here in joy, knowing we have seen the Christ. Knowing that Jesus has made a difference. Sure, our daily routines of work and family and the struggles we face may not be different, even the shepherds had to go back to the fields.
But let us leave here today with different lives. Lives that reflect the special hope we have.
And what might our lives touched by the presence of Jesus look like? I don’t know whether I can tell you, perhaps you have to experience it for yourself. After all, since Christ Jesus is real, so too will be the differences in your life. Since the Christ child is born for you, only you can truly know what he can do for you. Only St Paul, truly knew what Jesus meant to him to be willing to be persecuted for the sake of the gospel; only Zacheus truly knew what a difference Jesus made to be able to give half his money to the poor and mend his ways.
There is no text book changes to people’s lives. Only when you live today, leaving yesterday behind, and live in the presence of Christ, will you truly know and experience what a difference Jesus can make in your life. Yesterday is gone, today is different; we have seen Christ the Lord. Amen