Christmas Day is over. Most of us have begun the un-decorating, some of you really focused ones are probably done.
I think you should know that the rest of us find you intimidating.
I’m still trying to remember where I put all my stuff that I had to move to make way for my Christmas décor. Everything looks empty and plain except the floor, which is covered with needles from the tree and garland – which by the way are FAKE. But that’s another story.
“And when they had seen Him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.” Luke 2:17-18
I love how The Message translates this passage, “Seeing was believing. They told everyone they met what the angels had said about this child.”
The angels left as quickly as they had appeared. The shepherds talked it over and decided to go as fast as they could to see exactly what the angels were talking about. I’m sure it wasn’t how they had expected to find one of such great importance, but it didn’t seem to matter. For them, seeing was believing.
But it didn’t stop with the seeing and believing. They had to tell what they had heard from the angels and what they had seen with their own eyes and what they now believed in their hearts.
Believing doesn’t sit quietly. Somewhere deep down, it stirs a passion to share because it is too overwhelming marvelous to keep hidden.
Romans 10:9-10 says, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.”
Confessing and believing work together. The shepherds believed and because they believed, they could not help but share. They understood the magnitude of what they had heard and seen, and it was too good to keep to themselves.
Christmas is only a few days away. We are getting ready to celebrate the greatest gift ever given. Let’s boldly tell everyone we see about the child in the manger because, like the shepherds, we too believe.
Art by Caroline Cromer
God had been silent for 400 years. He had warned and explained through His prophets about what was to come, but very few listened.
And then the prophets were gone. No one heard a word from God. There was only silence. It was a loud kind of silence if that makes any sense. It was the kind of silence when one knows it is purposeful. God was purposefully silent. So all Israel could do was wait. Wait for the promised Messiah who would come and set everything right again.
Near the end of those 400-years of silence, the Jewish people found themselves oppressed not only by the heavy hand of the Roman government, but also by the self-indulgent hands of their own religious leaders.
All these things culminated into a dark time in Israel’s history.
What thoughts, I wonder, must have raced through the angels’ minds as they watched the Son turn to leave the Father’s presence? Were they silent? Did they whisper among themselves?
“He’s leaving. The time has come for the prophecy to be fulfilled.”
They knew the prophecy. They knew The Father was infuriated with Israel’s shepherds who were more concerned about their own comforts and high positions than they were about the sheep that were scattered everywhere. It’s not like He hadn’t warned them over and over again to change their ways. But they had not listened. The angels knew that the time was close at hand for God the Father to send His Son to search for those lost sheep. They knew He would send Him to bind up the injured and strengthen the weak.
Yes, they knew the prophecy well. But now, here it was. The time had come to do what He said He would do.
Did they weep as the Son turned to leave His throne? What thoughts must have swirled around in their minds as they realized all that the Son was leaving behind in Heaven to carry out the Father’s plan on earth? Who would exchange the glories of Heaven for the darkness of earth? They had been to earth. It was dirty and the people were vile. It wasn’t a pleasant place, nothing like Heaven.
I wonder if they followed behind the Father as He escorted His Beloved Son to the gates of heaven. Were their hearts saddened by the knowledge that they would be without the Bright Morning Star for over 30 years?
Did they say goodbye?
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