My favorite part of Jesus’ birth story is the shepherds. I imagine them under a starlit sky. Some guard their sheep from predators. Others nap until their watch shift, the only sound the occasional bleating of a lamb. And then comes a blinding white light! An angel of the Lord appears.
The bible says the shepherds were terrified. Who wouldn’t be?
Do not be afraid,” the angel says. “I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
Suddenly, the sky opens up. A host of angels praise God:
“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
Wow! Wouldn’t you want to be there?
The shepherds never questioned the angel. They knew exactly what it meant. The Messiah had come. In that age before newspapers, radio, television, social media, it took more than a thousand years for the news of the Messiah to spread until everyone heard. The bible says the news spread through many generations: fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile to Babylon, and fourteen from the exile to the Messiah. The news trickled down from prophets who passed it to the people. Then, finally, God chose the lowly shepherds in the dead of night as the first to know that the prophesy was fulfilled—the Messiah had come. The long wait was over.
The lesson here is that God makes His people wait until His time is precisely right. What to humans was generations of waiting, to God was a blink of His eye, an appointed time in His master plan. We forget this. We want God to act instantly. We forget that part of His character is making people wait. His timing and ours is not the same.
We count the days to Christmas, the day when we celebrate Christ’s birth, but we also wait for the day when He returns. Maybe our generation will be like the shepherds that night. Maybe we will be blessed to see Him come. If not, then surely our ancestors will be surprised like the shepherds. When they least expect it they will see Jesus coming in the sky to take them home—forever. And how glorious that will be!
Please remember this Christmas that the miracle of Christ is not over. We wait for our Messiah to come again–in God’s time–in His perfect time.
Glory! Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those whom his favor rests.
God bless all of you, my readers,
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