Wednesday, December 7, 2011

What a Wonder!

Can you imagine how the shepherds felt when the angels appeared in the night sky above them?  These were men generally regarded as social outcasts.  Didn’t dress very nicely, smelled of sweat and animals.  Ate with their fingers and burped after eating.   Strong, sturdy, ordinary fellows.

Surely, their eyes were blinded by the radiant light that split the darkness. They fell to their knees in fear and terror.  And then the angel told them, “Don’t be afraid, I have good news for you.”   

Can you just see the shepherds staring up at this heavenly messenger as the message was  given?   Great news of great joy which will be for all people.” 

Were the shepherds wondering why they—of all the people to whom this announcement could’ve been made—why had they been chosen as the ones to receive this message?   The angel went on “In the town of David, a Savior has been born to you.”   Imagine the shepherds gazing up in open-mouthed wonder.    

Why, Bethlehem is barely a speck on the map!

He is Christ the Lord.”   The angel anticipated their doubting hearts, reassuring them even more, “This will be a sign to you:   You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”  

A feed-box?

Their wonder increased even more as the heavens above them filled with a great company of heavenly host praising God, “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to men on whom His favor rests.”

As suddenly as the angels had appeared, they were gone.   Silence!   Black sky.  Twinkling stars.   Just like any other ordinary night.  Only, this was no longer any other ordinary night!   Never again would the world be the same.

These were men of action.  They were on their feet in no time, “Let’s go into Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has told us about.”   Sheep forgotten or left with an underling.   Robes flowing behind them, they raced across the countryside to Bethlehem, the younger ones perhaps running ahead.  

Was there only one stable in this little town of Bethlehem?  Or did they go door-to-door, knocking and waking everyone in town, searching for this little baby?  

When they found Him, did they stand in the door way afraid to go in, embarrassed to barge in on the new mother?   Did Joseph bar the way?  Did Mary offer to let them cuddle her newborn close?  Which of them gazed in amazement into the tiny face of our Savior?  

The shepherds responded by telling everyone in the countryside about the Christ-child.    Can you imagine these hulking galoots?  "Did you hear about the baby?"   "Angels told us--He is Christ the Lord!!"

This same child grew to be a man, the Christ who was crucified on Good Friday for the sins of the world—your sins and mine.  And He rose triumphantly on Easter morning having wiped our sin-filled slate completely clean.   This same Christ will return--again with angels--as a mighty conqueror and will fulfill the last of the prophecies about Him...and we who believe will be swept up with Him and live for eternity in the mansions of Heaven which He has prepared for us.   

What a wonder.

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