Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…
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 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.” Luke 2:8-12 (NIV)
“I’m seeing Christmas through my grandchildren in a way I haven’t seen it in years.”
Those were the words of a long-time dear friend a few years ago when I got him on the phone.
“It’s wonderful”, he gushed, “just wonderful.”
He knew that I would understand, with two precious granddaughters of our own helping us to see afresh and anew the wonder of the season, when at times we have lost our own way. A little perhaps like those shepherds two-thousand-years ago just hanging around in a field going through the motions of day-to-day living.
The rest of the story of the shepherds after the Angel told them about the moment of the birth of the promised Messiah, was that they hurried off to find the baby, and when they got there, they saw Him, and afterward they spread the word about what they had just seen. They didn’t go back to the fields, until later.
They didn’t miss the moment.
They had been to the manger, they understood and believed in the significance of what had happened, and the moment changed their lives forever. That moment in history changed their lives.
I suspect that there weren’t a lot of news reports of the birth of the Babe of Bethlehem at that first Christmas moment. And although the shepherds came, saw and understood, many people of that day missed the significance of the moment. And throughout the centuries since—even though a lot has been written about that day, and about the Baby and Jesus as He grew, and we mark our calendars by that moment which occurred in that smelly manger—many have missed the significance of the moment.
I wonder if even today many of us just might miss the significance of that moment of so long ago. A moment when God sent His Son—for the people of that day, and for all the people who have lived since then. A moment when God sent His Son—for people like you and like me, and for my friend on the telephone of a few years ago.
We’re just too busy. We’re busy making a living, or busy just trying to hang on. And when we finally do have time to get ready for the moment, we realize that there are too many things still to do—decorations still to put up, parties to go to, presents to buy and wrap. We still have stockings to fill, snacks and milk and thank you notes to leave for Santa Claus. Meals to plan, tables to set, schedules to organize, movies like “It’s a Wonderful Life” to watch. There is still too much to do to get ready.
But what are we getting ready for? All that stuff is wonderful and important as families and friends gather together during this season of the year. But all of that is not what the Angel of Lord told the shepherds about that night, in that field over two-thousand years ago…
“Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord. This will be sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
That’s what we’re getting ready for. And we dare not miss the majesty of that moment—of the birth of God’s Son—for us and our eternal lives. The moment of the mighty invasion of God’s Son into a world of darkness. That moment when God sent His one and only Son—for you and for me, for the shepherds tending their sheep in the fields, for my friend on the phone, and for his children and grandchildren and for mine—and for everyone throughout history and the history yet to come.
If you’re anything like me—you’re going to keep doing all those things you need to do to get ready. That’s great. Family and friends will gather to share meals and laughter and recollections of times gone by and reflections of their hopes for the future. It will be great.
But don’t miss the moment.
Don’t miss the manger.
And most of all—don’t miss the Christ Child.
He’s lying in the manger—for you and for me and for all the world.
It’s wonderful, just wonderful.
Merry Christmas to each and every one of you and your families!
In His Name—Scott
Copyright 2013. Scott L. Whitaker. All rights reserved.