Saturday, December 21, 2013

Day 14: Luke 2:15-16

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”  So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. -Luke 2:15-16

I've spent a lot of time this morning thinking about what it would be like to be one of the shepherds in this situation.  You are a shepherd out in the field taking care of your sheep, it's the middle of the night and you are probably half asleep.  Out of nowhere an angel appears, who, if he looked the way the scriptures describe angels, looked intimidating and beautiful at the same time.  He brings you a decree from God telling you that the great Messiah your people have been waiting for has been born and that He is lying in a food trough in a little podunk town.  Then the skies break open and thousands of angels sing in a huge angel chorus praising God.  And since this was 2000 years ago, these people had never seen a huge choir or symphony orchestra or possibly have never even see thousands of people gathered in the same place, much less huge spirit beings from God.

So, this craziness all happens to these shepherds, whether it was a few minutes or a few hours, we don't know, but now the angels have left.  If you are a shepherd, what do you do?

The adventurous side of me likes to think I would go looking for this baby that the angel talked about.  God has led me on lots of crazy adventures, and none of them ever involved something as cool as an angel choir.  Adventure, curiosity and love of God would motivate me to check this out.

Another part of me thinks I would just shut down from sensory overload.  I appreciate aesthetic things and I can't imagine how overwhelmingly awesome it would be to hear an angel choir.  I'm not sure if I would just stand there for hours, staring at the sky or if I would do one of those "I'm crying, but I have no idea why" things (I'm a girl; we do that).   Either way, I think I would turn inward and shut down.

And as much as I hate to admit it, there is a part of me that I could see either convincing myself that I didn't see what I just saw or just pretending like it never happened and going about my day.

When it comes to the supernatural things of God...miracles, seeing angels, prayers being answered, hearing God's voice...we can choose to react in those same three ways.  The adventurous part of us can get excited by those things and cause us to want to go and seek out Christ in greater and greater ways.  They can cause us to shut down and freak out at the realization that this who God thing really is real and we let the implications of that overwhelm and scare us.  It's kind of funny to see someone who has believed in Jesus their whole life experience a miracle for the first time and be shocked by it.  Seriously, the Bible is full of this stuff...did you think they made it up?  Or we can write off these supernatural things by trying to explain them away or pretending like they don't really happen.  In an ever increasing world of scientific understanding, it can be easy to say, "That doesn't fit in with my perception of the universe, so it must not be true."

As we get closer to the celebration of our Savior's birth, I encourage you to embrace the supernatural characteristics of God more and more.  It may involve admitting to yourself that something you experienced in the past really was a work of God.  It may require you write your prayers down in a journal for a month and cross them off when they are answered (every time I do that, I'm shocked to see God answer almost every prayer).  You might need to lay hands on someone that is ill and pray for their healing, even if it seems kind of hokey.  It may require you simply asking God to do something supernatural in your life, not for the sensational side of it, but to know Him more deeply.  Channel your sense of adventure and set out in search of Jesus.  The journey will change your life.

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