When was the last time you were surprised? Excited?
I’m pretty hard to surprise. Drives my hubby crazy. Top it off with being very practical, so I don’t get too excited about things either. But there have been those occasions – when I was eight and pulled the cover off the present and it was a typewriter – took my breath away. When my hubby hid my engagement ring inside the cap of a bottle of perfume – wasn’t expecting it. The amazing love that saturated me with each birth of my children – overcome by it.
Just a couple thousand years ago a bunch of scruffy, smelly shepherds were trying to keep warm and sleep out in the fields. Usually the only excitement was a wild animal trying to get dinner from their flock. But this time “An Angel of the Lord appeared to them, and they were terrified.” (Luke 2:9 NIV)
Yep, that would have astonished me too. In fact, I don’t think anything could top that one.
“Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:10-11 NIV) The thing is we usually tell everyone about our surprise moments. How excited we are. The shepherds did, when the angels (yes, more appeared with the first one) had left them, they hurried off to see the Savior. “When they had seen Him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed” (Luke 2:17-18a NIV)
What about us? Maybe we haven’t had an angel visit, but we’ve heard the same great news they did. Who are we telling about it? Have we let it become ho-hum and fa la la la la? Ann Voskamp said that she would take “Holy days over hyped up holidays.” That’s when the awe is lost and we look more forward to the after sales than the actual celebration. If we can live these days leading up to the event as Holy Days, the awe returns.
How? Don’t just read the Christmas story or just hear it – wonder at it. Put yourself there among the sheep, look at the shepherds’ faces. Gaze up and imagine the brilliance of the angels. Let God stir up your wonder as you remember why He came: so He could have you forever with Him – and just wait til you see the surprises He has in store in forever.
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