Are You Interrupted?
I was talking to a lady in our local hospital last week about Christmas and how quickly it comes round and the fact that shops have had the decorations out since September. We have all had these conversations I guess!
Her departing comment got me thinking though, "Glad it"s only once a year," she said with a wry smile. It was almost like Christmas was an interruption of her life, an inconvenience of daily routine.
The other comment I frequently hear is "I will be glad when it"s over!"
But hang on! Glad when what is over?
Glad that what only comes once a year?
If it's the shopping, the searching for that special gift, what to get the children who seem to have everything, the food, the family tensions about who is visiting who, the decorations, the new clothes, the party, money, work... (the list is long and I expect you could add a few more things.)... If this is what we are talking about as being Christmas, then I can see why we would say "I will be glad when it's over" or "glad it's only once a year".
And if this is the case, then we have missed something.
So here are these shepherds on the hill minding their own business, looking after their sheep - gathered around the fire - another dark cool night. This was their way of life and actually, shepherds were classed as the lowest of the low in their society, no recognition and no vote, no social status.
Then suddenly an angel appears saying;
"Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger." (Like 2:10-12)
"Do not be afraid!" Really! It must have been such a shock to the shepherds as the angel appeared - and then more appeared - not what perhaps they were expecting at all! However, once over the surprise, their response was to go and find this baby and then to tell everyone about what they had seen.
In Luke 2:18, it says that those that the shepherd told the news to, "marvelled" at what they had heard - they didn"t say "I will be glad when its over!"
Marvelled is a very special word, because when we can marvel (be in wonder and amazement) as we consider Christmas and its meaning, then the stress of all the other things seem to become quite insignificant.
The angel told the shepherds that the news of Jesus' birth was news of great joy. Genuine joy is only found in our relationship with Jesus, knowing Him doesn't mean a dull boring life, it means that we have a completeness because we have received the perfect gift, first announced to the shepherds - but given to you and me by Father God - His Son, our Saviour, Jesus!
Wishing you joy and peace this Christmas
With much love,