Monday, December 21, 2015

Advent XXIII

When the dark night sky cleared of the angels and their heavenly voices were replaced by the small sounds of nearby sheep, the shepherds collected their wits, and one said to the others, "Let's go!"  There was no question about where they were going.  Bethlehem.  So off they went doing something good shepherds would never do which was leaving their sheep to tend for themselves.  But, then this night was unlike any other night.  Perhaps, it was the kind of night which caused them to know that their sheep would be tended and kept safe by the God who had sent the angels.
When they arrived in Bethlehem, they found the Savior for whom they were looking.  They were men in a hurry, men on a mission, and not even the unknown would hinder them in finding the One about whom the angels spoke.  "They went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger."  (Luke 2:16)  While the text says very little about they did when they arrived, it is not hard for this preacher to use a little literary license to read between the lines and be sure that they arrived full of a spirit of adoration and worship.  They told the story of the angels with such fervor and passion that everyone who heard them was amazed and touched deeply in their hearts.  It was a work of God and whenever the works of God are reported mysterious divine transactions take place in the heart.
Our worship during these days bears this story telling dimension.  When that story from Luke is read to the congregation, may we be one of those who finds ourselves sitting on the edge of the pew eager to hear once again how God was at work on that dark night long ago to save us from our sins and our own self-centered trivial pursuits.  Worship Him in these days with a spirit of joy and gratitude that causes us to  step into that eternal stream of joy and gratitude first revealed to us by that bunch of dirty shepherds who tended their flock just outside of Bethlehem. 

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