Our Guest for today’s blog is Elise Booz. Elise has been an active member of Drawing Near to God Ministry for many years. She and her family are members of St. Andrew’s Church, Park Circle where she is also the worship leader.
As Christmas approaches, I find myself in Luke chapter 2. This nativity story is so familiar to me, as it might be to you. I read this chapter of scripture every year at Christmastime, and because it’s so familiar, I hardly expect God to show me anything new. I’ll read Luke 2 to my daughters again this year. Luke 2 will be the Christmas Eve scripture reading at church again this year. Familiar reading. Nothing new.
I should have more faith than I do. I should know by now that the God of revelation is always speaking. He’s delighted to bring deeper understanding, conviction, and wonder if I come with an expectant heart. That’s exactly what He did for me in Luke 2 just the other day.
And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child.
Angelic armies, heavenly warriors were dispatched to sing that first Christmas night. Lowly shepherds, with their rustic lifestyles and humble occupations, were quietly working in the dark. And suddenly, an angel of light appeared to them, and threw the entire scene into stark contrast. The world was dark and meager, but God’s angelic messenger was dazzling and glorious. The world was quietly plodding, but heaven was rejoicing! These lowly shepherds were visited by a glorious angel of light and were told of the Messiah’s birth. Then, with the heavenly multitudes, the angel treated the shepherds to a resounding hymn of worship. Pure praise from heaven blanketed an aching, fearful people. I can’t think of another scripture where our fallen world resounds with perfect worship like Luke 2.
These angels weren’t human, but they sang in human speech and melody. They did this for our benefit. Scripture records their song, so we can worship in the same way the angels did. Their worship centers around these three words: glory, peace and goodwill.
Glory to God whose kindness favors us. Glory to God whose wisdom designed the plan of salvation. His is the glory, and the honor. In our worship, we should assign God the glory that he deserves.
Peace on earth; peace that this sore world desperately needs. Jesus came to restore our peace with God, and this peace makes it possible to have peace with one another.
Finally, peace for people of goodwill. Peace to those whose hearts are humble and warm towards God, who own their need for reconciliation.
What do these three words mean for you today? How does your life sing a song of God’s glory, peace and goodwill? We are residents of a dark, hurting world, but we are still called to be messengers of God’s kingdom of light.
My favorite part of this passage is the shepherd’s response. After this joyful spectacle, their reaction reflected pure faith. “Let us go..” Faith leads to action. The shepherds didn’t say, ‘let’s bask in our glorious visitation.’ They didn’t say, ‘let’s process what we’ve heard.’ They simply hurried to obey what God had told them. And after beholding the Lord of glory, God incarnate, Jesus Christ, they went with haste to spread the good news.
Lord, let me be like the angels, bursting with ravishing praise from heaven. Let my presence be light and joy to a dark, dreary world. Let my words and my actions show that you are glorious, and that you extend peace to people of goodwill.
Lord, let me be like the shepherds, awestruck by your revelation. Make me humble in your presence. Give me simple, obedient faith to go where you send, and share what I’ve seen.
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