Thursday, December 26, 2013

Thursday, December 26, 2013

 Today’s text

Luke 2:15-16

Now it happened that when the angels had gone from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, 'Let us go to Bethlehem and see this event which the Lord has made known to us.' So they hurried away and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger.


What did the shepherds expect to see? What were they looking for?

Angels had promised something glorious and life changing. This part of the story is enough to stop most moderns from taking any of it seriously.

Angels are hard to imagine today, except for those messengers of grace in our lives who lift our hearts by the light of their presence.

But a peasant child in a manager, his parents huddled near to keep him and themselves warm? This sight is easier to imagine. Shepherds and the shivering poor are down to earth, as common as the evening news.

Even 20 centuries later we can understand the shepherds leaving the loneliness of the night watches to come out of the cold to see a child--or most anything that would warm their hearts and give a moment of happiness.

After all, that is why they came to the manger. They wanted to get out of the cold. And the manger where Jesus laid was the warmest place in Bethlehem.

No, it was and remains the warmest place on earth, which is why we come there, too.

We return each year to the stable to see the child because some messenger of grace has told or shown us that there is warmth there that penetrates that chilled soul. There is a love that comes from an Eternal Source to warm us through and make us truly alive.

We will never comprehend this love no matter how far we go or how long we live. It’s a mystery. You can describe it but never explain it.

Neither can you deny the warmth of the love or the beauty of the grace that emanates from this peasant’s child lying in a bed of straw at Bethlehem. It streams through the centuries and the souls of billions.

Drawing near to him--and to the angels of grace in which he lives--one is warmed by the heart of God become flesh in human form.

What ever the shepherds expected to see in Bethlehem there is no doubt in my mind that they tripped over the Judean hills hoping to come out of the cold, hoping to find and know the warmth of truest life and love.

It’s why I still come, too. And I am not disappointed.

Pr. David L. Miller

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