Hello Friends! With the weekend coming up, I'm giving you a run-down of what we'll be reading today (Friday), Saturday, and Sunday. I'll be back on Monday with the last week of Advent. I'm so excited that we're getting this close! Christmas is one of my favorite times of the year. Cookie baking, Christmas shopping, and the music, oh how I love the music! But I also love this Advent tradition we've started with our little ones. Each night, we pause in our bedtime routine to read the verse(s). It's a moment to focus our hearts and minds, and remind all of us of the true meaning of Christmas. So far this Advent, we've looked at Old Testament prophesies that foretold the birth of Christ, and then read about angels coming to visit Mary, Joseph, and the shepherds. This weekend, we'll be looking at the response of those shepherds. Just what did they do with the good news they'd been given?
"They hurried off and found both Mary and Joseph, and the baby who was lying in the feeding trough" (Luke 2:16, HCSB).
I love that it says that hurried, they wanted to meet this child quickly! It shows that they believed that something was actually going on. That they believed that the Christ-child had actually arrived. Their Messiah. Their Savior, had been born. I'm sure that I would have done much the same. I would have run, as fast as I could, to see if what the angels had said was actually true!
What the shepherds found was a tiny baby, newly born, probably a bit wrinkly and red in the face. He probably looked like a million other newborn babies. The scriptures don't really say that He was unique in His appearance. He was, well, normal. He wasn't their great military hero. Instead, He was small, innocent, dependent on His mother for nourishment and comfort. He was wrapped in everyday wrags, not jewls and riches as a king should be. He we normal, and normal shepherds came to meet Him on that blessed night.
On Saturday, we'll move onto to the next verse. It talks about the shepherds next reaction. Recall, when they first saw the angel, they were terrified. Then, after hearing the good next, they rushed to Bethlehem, to meet the Christ-child. Now, they've seen Him face to face:
"After seeing them, they reported the message they were told about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had seen and heard, just as they had been told" (Luke 2:17-18, 20, HCSB).
These shepherds had experienced something amazing. They didn't keep it to themselves, but, instead, when back and told their story to others. Those that heard were amazed, but I wonder if they actually believed? Sight can be so deceiving. This small baby looked like any other, so small and weak and normal. His parents looked pretty normal too. Do you think anyone took this story to heart? Maybe, maybe not, but the shepherds were passionate about what they saw. They weren't afraid to share the Good News with everyone they knew! God knows that it takes a willing heart. He must have seen something in those shepherds, that told Him that these men would share what they'd seen. These men wouldn't bow down to political or peer pressure. They would speak out, even if most people didn't believe them. It says that they praised and glorified God. They knew that a miracle had taken place, and they wanted to share it. Oh how I want to live the same way, unabashedly sharing the Good News that has so rocked my life! My very reason for living, for breathing, for investing in and loving my friends and family! He came friends! God loved us so much that He sent His son. What a precious Christmas gift!
Sunday will be a review day for us. We'll look back on what we've read in the Christmas story so far, and discuss how amazing the story of Jesus' birth is. I think it's a point that can't be hammered home with our little kids enough. We all love presents, we all love giving and receiving gifts. But the greatest gift of all is there for us to receive. It's Jesus. Jesus' gift to all of us is the very reason we celebrate Christmas. His love for us is the reason we love others, and shower them with love this Christmas season. We may even discuss how we could practically show that love together as a family in 2015. I'd love to get involved in some more local mission work. Find a way I can help, with little ones in tow. Sunday would be a great evening to discuss that, as we head toward Christmas day, and shortly after, the start of a brand new year!