My husband, Josh, is a pastor and I am often both inspired and impressed with his ability to look at the stories of the Bible and shine a light on a different perspective that isn’t so obvious. Last night was one of those nights. He was talking about the birth of Christ. We all know it. If we turn to Luke 2:1-6, we see an overview of how it went down. Joseph and his very pregnant fiance, Mary, had to go to Nazareth to be registered because the king decreed that everyone be registered in their hometown. When they finally arrived, it came time for Mary to give birth, but there was no room in the inn, so she placed baby Jesus in a manger. Josh pointed out that his message was not about the birth of Jesus, but rather what takes place with a few shepherds nearby.
If we continue on to Luke 2:8-20, we read about the account of the shepherds watching over their flock that same night. An angel appeared to them and they were frightened. The angel of the Lord told them not to fear, that he had good news; for unto them a child had been born in Nazareth, the Christ. He told them that they would find Him lying in a manger.
This is the part that I tend to glaze over and not really think about: “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 (emphasis mine) and found Mary and Joseph and the baby lying in a manger. ” Luke 2: 15-16
Josh went on to explain that the response of the shepherds to go with haste to see this savior that the angel spoke of, is the same response that we should have when we hear the Christmas story. They didn’t care that they were just shepherds, or what others would think, they just knew that a freakin’ angel of the Lord told them that the Messiah was born that night and he was lying in a manger. So they went! They didn’t think twice. With HASTE they went to Him.
Josh related this story to our daughter, Selah. Selah is at a super adorable stage right now. She’s all about hugging, kissing and running into our arms. She’s also not afraid to show this sort of affection toward strangers…what can I say, she’s a lover. When we are together, an embrace is never jilted because I am storing up in my heart all these tender memories while this phase lasts. Josh’s (and my) favorite thing she does, is when Josh opens the front door to come home after work, Selah gets this crazy grin on her face and yells with excitement, runs full speed with arms open wide and gives her daddy a big ol’ hug to greet him.
Josh said that we should have the same response as Selah and these shepherds when we hear the Christmas story. We should run as fast as we can towards Him without a care in the world except getting to Him.
You see, it’s not enough to KNOW the Christmas story. It’s not enough to get good feelings when we think of innocent little baby Jesus sleeping in a manger. We need to respond. We GET to respond! Christmas is a wonderful time to really think about where we are at in life and where Jesus is. He came for you and for me so that we could have life, true life in Him and that is truly something to celebrate this Christmas season.
So whoever you are, imagine my goofy daughter screaming with joy as she runs to her daddy just to be with him, and so forth, run into the loving arms of the One who loves you most! It doesn’t matter what you’ve done, what mistakes you’ve made or how messed up you think you are. Just go.