I have sat down at the computer more times than I can count this season. But each time I sit with expectation to pour out God’s goodness on all of you, I find that I am met with a barrage of items that must be checked off the list swirling thru my mind. The season’s lofty expectations packed on top of building a house and our already complex schedule has left me chasing the squirrel in front of me instead of focusing on what deserves my time.
So I sat down to check another thing of my list. I wanted to read and share the Christmas story with my kids, Blake, Evelyn and Truett, who were going to be shepherds in our church’s live nativity, The Streets of Bethlehem. I wanted them to understand the significance of their role and the joyous time they are getting to represent not just that they were getting to hang out with live sheep for a few hours.
And so I opened up to Luke chapter 2.
8 And there were shepherds living out in the field nearby, keeping watch over their flock by night.
Well I could relate, not to the living in a field part, but that these shepherd’s job was never done. They worked all night long. I could also understand the tending of the flock. There was always a sheep to find and wolves to ward off. They were always planning the safest place to get water and thinking about where to find the best grass to nibble. They were busy. And every day they were checking things off their list.
9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them,”Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause you great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
Wait, the news of the birth of the the Savior of the world, was brought first to the shepherds? God interrupted them in the middle of their busyness to proclaim the most important thing that has ever happened to this world. Not to a king, or to the town cryer but to the shepherds. The ones who were busy all night long tending their flock and caring for their sheep.
And what I love the most was that it says this,
a Savior has be born TO YOU;
That is right, to you. He was born for you, personally. You who are weary from all of the tasks that have been placed before you. You who is pouring into others all day long. You who have burdens that seem too big to carry. For you weighted down by sins from your past. For you who has it all under control. He was born for you.
13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel praising God and saying. 14″Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” 15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
Yes God is so worthy of praise, that the shepherds dropped what they were doing to go and see this thing that has happened. They abandoned their to do list to go and see their Savior, the Messiah, the one who would bring their souls peace. They stopped worrying about their sheep and they went to see the one who the Lord told them about. The one who will cause great joy for all the people.
16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds had said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherd returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
And when they had seen Him, when they had spent some time in His holy presence, they spread the word of what had been told to them. And they returned to their business, their to do list of tending their flocks. But something was different. Their hearts had been changed by being in the presence of the Savior of the world. So when they returned they were glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen.
Take some time. Stop what you are doing to go and see Him. Go and spend some time in the presence of your Savior. The one we celebrate. The one who was born for you. Let your heart be changed. It is just as you have been told.
If you would like to see the Streets of Bethlehem it is going on tonight Thursday December 14th thru Sunday December 17th from 5-9 at Appleton Alliance Church and FREE! My little shepherds will get to play their role in the most joyous story this world has ever known on Sunday night. But any night this event is a must see! You can see more about it here! Streets of Bethlehem