That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lordâ€™s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. â€œDonâ€™t be afraid!â€ he said. â€œI bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Saviorâ€”yes, the Messiah, the Lordâ€”has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.â€
Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of othersâ€”the armies of heavenâ€”praising God and saying,
â€œGlory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.â€ Luke 2:8-14 (NLT)
Christmas. The birth of the Christ is all about God, Infinite, All-Powerful, Creator, Jehovah, and LORD of Lords who came to earth to save and establish a personal, intimate relationship with His finite, imperfect, weak, and created children. And the many different ways of how He has done that â€“ is what these devotionals and the stories of others are all about. They are the vehicle that we use to express, in practical and personal ways, the Good News of Jesus.
Thirty plus years ago, I became a mom. Maybe like most people, as the time came near I became more nervous. Sure I was a nurse but I didn’t work with children. I seriously avoided that! But I also had done some terrible things in my life and I heard this whispery voice in my head that kept telling me that I would be punished for these things â€“ that the sins of the mother would be visited upon the child! I told God I was sorry and asked that He forgive me. But I wasn’t forgiving myself and so this voice had a open invitation to just keep beating me up all through this pregnancy. And then I went into labor and gave birth to a beautiful, dark-haired girl. She was perfect! But wait! Much to everyone’s surprise (including the doctor’s!) there was another baby that was never seen on any ultrasound! Hidden away like a gift waiting for Christmas! And so I had a beautiful, golden-haired boy! Did God know how to send a Forgiveness Message?!! The Good News of Jesus Christ?!!
This is just one of many stories this ordinary woman could tell about the extraordinary God that she has come to know. Like the shepherds in the field that night, I was so very clueless about my Creator. He had tried to show me His glory in sunrises and sunsets, in the laughter of a child, or the worn hand of a grandparent â€“ but I was either too busy or too full of my own importance and intelligence to see. And so one night â€“ He sent a â€œhost of gloryâ€ to get my attention, just like He did the shepherds.
I cry every Christmas. I weep with joy, humbled by what our LORD has done; awed by His glory that I see in the faces of those two miracles that are grown now â€“ and in the sunrises and sunsets, the laughter of children and my own worn hand. I see His glory now everywhere!
For most people, the next two days will be busy, maybe even crazy busy! Please, my friends, let us not miss the glory of this time. Spend some time late at night or early in the morning just being quiet. Listen for the sound of God’s presence. See Him in your spirit. Feel Him with every part of yourself. Shhh. There. Here. Now.
O Holy Night written by Adolphe Adam (1847) and now sung by Josh Groban
Lectionary texts for this week: I Samuel 2:18-20, 26, Psalm 148, Colossians 3:12-17, Luke 2:41-52
I will see you back here next Monday.