Monday, December 22, 2014

Shepherd's Tale - A Christmas Story

Abiding in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night and suddenly-----

The lights came on. The quiet night, their quiet lives were impacted with a Word from God. They were afraid. Natural reaction to the sudden and unknown, but soon they were reassured..."Fear not." How many times in the scriptures does God tell us to "fear not?" You would think by now we would have gotten it.

Then the message, the Good News, the Gospel. And fear evolved to wonder and anticipation. Let's go see - and they did. Wow! Just like God said - How many times has that happened in our lives? - they had been with Jesus; they knew He was the Son of God; they knew this would change their world - Emmanuel: God is with us - go tell the story; and they did; simple shepherds, the first preachers.

When they returned to their "abiding in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night," things were different. God had entered their lives in a mighty way, and they had been with Jesus. Now they were shepherds "glorifying and praising God" They had visited the Christ Child.

So have we. Before all else this season, can we glorify and praise God for all we have "heard and seen" Him do. Christ is with us. Joy to the world -Emanuel

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Shepherds and Wise Men - A Christmas Story

The shepherds couldn't wash their hands enough to suit orthodox religiosity. Because of their constant care of their herds, they could not observe all the ceremonial hand washings and all the other rules and regulations required to be good and proper. These simple men were looked down upon by orthodox religious leaders.

Yet, it was these simple men that the coming of Jesus was first announced. And, I think about the wise men who had to come from afar whereas these shepherds were "in the same country." The wise men had to follow a star, but the second class citizen shepherds were honored with an angel of the Lord making the announcement. The "glory of the Lord shone round about them." The angel made the announcement giving clear directions to the Christ child. And a multitude from heaven had a praise service glorifying God. The shepherd had lots more than a single star to follow across a foriegn country. They got the message vividly, personally, and they were close enough to walk to see Jesus.

This is not to take away from the faithfulness and the arduous travel of the wise men, but they had much farther to come on many levels. They had so many other things that came between them and worship of the Lord. They had money; probably had influence. They lived in a different culture. Yet they set aside all that to follow what the Lord had put in their hearts and the star God had provided for them.

And I think about our culture, with all of our personal "stuff," both materially and personally that can come between us and Jesus. Perhaps, we too have far to come and much to set aside to truly worship our Savior "which is Christ the Lord." At this Christmas season I would hope we would listen: listen to what God has put upon our hearts and put aside all that would come between us to take the hard path to follow our star to go and worship the Christ child.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

No Room – A Christmas Story

They had traveled for probably a week or more, on foot or riding a donkey through tough terrain. She was in the last stage of pregnancy. Yet, when they arrived at their destination, there was no room at the inn for them to stay. The gift of love God was sending to earth was turned away, to be born in a stable. Everyone had been ordered to go to their hometown to be taxed, so the hotel business was booming. There was no room for the Savior to be born. However, the innkeeper did let them have the stable. At least that was someplace as crude as conditions might have been. But, all the rooms inside were already occupied.
A law of physics says that two things can’t occupy the same space at the same time. The only way for the family of Jesus to have a room would have been if one of the guests would be removed from their room. Are my rooms all filled? Are yours? The Gift of Love comes to our doors daily asking for room. Does He find the rooms filled with the things of earth? Will we ask some of room-filling guests to leave so Jesus might be born in our hearts? Will we let the Christ Child in to be born there, but to grow strong there, to occupy more and more rooms once filled with stuff. What is occupying the room Jesus should have to be born afresh each day in my heart? What keeps Jesus from booking my whole inn? And then, when the world comes knocking at the door, I can say “There is no room. They are booked to Jesus.”