How are your Christmas preparations going? Have you wrapped a few presents? Are you attending some parties, concerts, or other special Christmas events? How are you feeling about this Christmas?
I think it’s important to have moments to pause in this season and do some reflecting and take inventory to check in with yourself so that you don’t fall into the auto-pilot mode. I say that because I think it’s valuable to carve out moments and space to remember Jesus in this season–not like a platitude or customary box-check. In the bustle of Christmas, it’s easy to lose track of the main thing.
This brings us to the third part of this blog series, “Christmas in Motion.” In the first two blogs, we looked at the activity and effort it took for Joseph and Mary to land in Bethlehem–thinking about that in terms of God’s help with miracles and some of the struggles we might go through in relation to God’s promises. In the second blog, we looked at the journey of the wisemen, making their way from the remote East to find Jesus, being led by a star to direct their journey.
In this blog, we’re considering the shepherds in the field who received an angelic visitation and the instruction to look for the baby laying in a manger. When we think about these shepherds, it’s noteworthy to consider that the angels visited them at night when they were all hunkered down and settled in for dinner with their sheep bedded down in the sheep pen. Maybe once they had retired for the evening, they didn’t want or expect to be startled into action by the angel announcing Jesus’ arrival and God’s glory shining all around them. Nevertheless, that’s what happened, and it frightened them a boatload, as we read in Luke 2:9-14:
And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.”
This angelic visitation interrupted their status quo so much that they were highly motivated to find the Savior, wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger. As I think about this whole experience, I wonder if I’d be willing to receive a divine interruption such that I’d move out in the night to find the baby announced by the angels.
Am I willing to let God interrupt my daily routines to announce a supernatural visitation? Am I willing to leave my comfortable, familiar and status quo to find what God could be announcing to me? Would I dismiss a divine visitation as coincidence so that I could hold onto my routines and what’s familiar?
I think these are good questions to think about for our lives, as we consider the angelic visitation to the shepherds in the field that night. Let’s be devoted to finding and following Jesus no matter the time nor inconvenience such devotion might cause us.