December 8, 2011
Ryan Duncan, TheFish.com
My family has a tradition. Each Christmas, when the whole family has gotten together, we take an evening to decorate the tree. My sisters and I unwrap our favorite ornaments and try to get them some premium tree-placement while our parents take out some older decorations to fill in the gaps we leave behind. The crown jewel of our Christmas collection is the angel, which is always put on last and always at the top of the tree. Only one of us got to put up the angel, and as kids, every year we would fight like crazy over whose turn it was (Actually, even as adults I think we still flight like crazy over whose turn it is). There was just something so wonderful and amazing about that angel that you couldn’t help trying to get it, even if you knew it wasn’t your turn.
Looking back on those nights now, I can’t help but envy the shepherds of the Christmas story. Of all the Christmas gifts that have ever been given, they hands-down received the best. They witnessed the declaration of Christ’s birth from a host of angels.
“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 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. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests." When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about." So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 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. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.” – Luke 2:8-20
I doubt you or I will ever be able to fathom what the shepherds experienced in those moments, but the wonder of the angel's message still remains. Christ the Lord was born on earth, and his birth signaled the beginning of our freedom from sin. This Christmas season, don’t let cold weather or crazy shopping cause you to forget the splendor of the angel's message. Instead, be like the shepherds, glorifying and praising God for all the things you have seen and heard.
Intersecting Faith and Life
This Christmas, consider taking part in Operation Christmas Child through Samaritan’s Purse, and bring the hope of Christmas to a child in need.
Read Luke 2