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Watching Christmas – Part 1

Posted in Encouragement, Faith, and Holiday reflections

Welcome to the three-part series, Watching Christmas.  Each week through December 20, I’ll share an aspect of the Christmas story that causes me to watch the wonder of the birth of Jesus.

This week I’m watching the shepherds and the angels in Luke 2:8-12:

The hustle and bustle of the Christmas season are in full swing.  Retailers are pitching their best deals. Shoppers are busy buying from their lists. Program and party planners are pulling out all the stops.

Watching Christmas unfold always excites me. I enjoy the decorations and the festive tone filling the atmosphere. But if this is all I see I miss the point.

I believe how I celebrate the season should reflect why I celebrate the season.

 “That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people.The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!  And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:8-12 NLT)

watching-christmas-quote1You may be familiar with this scene of shepherds guarding their flocks. But when a sudden glow appeared, things became a lot more interesting. The shepherds were terrified. They needed the angels to reassure them with the words “Don’t be afraid.”

Has something suddenly come upon you?  It may be a realization that changes the way you look at life or the way you look at those you love.

Don’t be afraid.

When something comes suddenly, we aren’t expecting it.  But if fear settles in, it’s hard to receive the blessing or rise above the difficulty.

And yet, watching the shepherds, I see the Lord’s glory surrounding the unexpected. As we place our faith in Christ, we belong to Him and that same glory surrounds us too.

“Just as the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds his people, both now and forever.” – Psalm 125:2

Being confident of His presence, we can release our “suddenly” to God.

Even when we don’t know the outcome or we’re afraid of the outcome, we can watch Him weave our “suddenly” into the wonder of His plan.

Because regardless of the outcome, through Christ we can overcome. (see John 16:33)

I’m in awe as I watch the angels bring “… good news that will bring great joy to all people.The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born…And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.” 

Watching Christmas should always point us to the Savior.  

In the midst of our unexpected (or even the unwanted) I’m praying we’ll recognize Him too. Then suddenly we’ll remember or discover the good news: Because the Lord has been born, we can have unending hope for the heart and great joy in the soul.