It happens every year I start the blog at the beginning of Advent thinking ….dang… 23 days (in past years as many as 28)….yes, dang… that seems like a lot of writing. Then I get into it; I love researching, reading new things and writing about it. I love reading your comments and the emails that you send. I look up and it is day 21 of 23. As my grandchildren would say… there are three more sleeps until Christmas Eve which for me translates into three more blogs. It’s time to put down the Levine book “Light of the World” and say farewell to Matthew. The last three days of this sacred time belong to the Gospel of Luke.
When we left the Gospel of Luke, Mary had given birth to her first born son, wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger. The Angel, then a heavenly host of Angels had appeared to the shepherds who were watching over their flocks by night. The Angel said, “Don’t be afraid, I bring good news for all people, for unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior who is the Messiah.” The Angel goes on to tell they shepherds that they will recognize this special baby because he is wrapped in swaddling clothes and laying in a manger.
We pick up the story here. “ When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. “ Luke 2: 15-18
The shepherds hear the message of the Angels and they go to tell the story, a story they may not fully understand. But they “go” and they simply recount what they have seen and heard. The result is amazing; all who heard it were amazed. Let that sink in a minute. Often we hear God’s call, and we don’t fully understand what is being asked of us. Like the shepherds, all we are required to do is tell what we know. That is truly how evangelism works. If there is any thing I have learned in two short years of being a pastor is that I do not have all the theology down, I simply have to take the next step and tell my story along the way. That is what the shepherds bring to the story. The shepherds don’t ask a lot of questions, they don’t call in the Rabbi, they go to see the baby and tell what has happened to them. They retell what the angels told them. In doing that they establish a connection with Mary and Joseph. They bring confirmation of a story from an Angel; what a relief that must have been for Mary. What the Angel told her nine months ago, was true; it was all true. With the shepherds, the Christmas connection continues to move among human beings. Jesus, still just a baby is bringing people together. His story still brings people together; we call it Christmas.
Grace and Peace at Advent