“Making Your Decision!”
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” … The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them. Luke 2:15, 20 (NRSV)
As I write to you this month, I am recovering from a Thanksgiving feast and wondering how many miles one needs to walk to rid themselves of a 19 pound turkey, with all the accompanying side dishes. I don’t know the exact mileage, but I suspect it will take a week or two.
I am also beginning to prepare for two seasons that are quickly approaching: Advent and Christmas. Advent is the season where we prepare to welcome the Messiah into our lives and is filled with predictions from the Old Testament of God’s gift of a Savior that will come into the world. Christmas is the season that celebrates the birth of God’s son, Jesus who is that promised Savior, and the opening up of our hearts and lives to welcome Christ into them. This is always an exciting time of year as we prepare to celebrate and then as we celebrate.
In the Gospel of Luke, the writer shares with us how the shepherds reacted when the angels told them that what had been promised and predicted was now reality. They listened, then they got up and went to see the miracle of the Messiah’s birth, and they finally returned to their rather normal lives; however however, they were changed as they then gave glory and praise to God for what they had heard, seen and experienced. Those shepherds were forever changed and forever praising God for the gift He has given the world.
One of the interesting aspects of these two verses is the decision the shepherds made to ‘go and see’ and then ‘praise and give glory.’ They first heard about the birth and the gift, and then they decided to go and witness and thank God for His goodness. That is perhaps the exact same decision and response that the birth of a Savior calls for from every person during these two seasons that have come and are coming. We, too, make a decision to prepare ourselves to receive this wonderful gift that God has sent into the world and then decide that we will intentionally and in all things offer our praise by glorifying God for what He has done and what we experience every day.
We need to make our decision to ‘go and see,’ which means we are present to hear the promises that God has made. These are presented in the scriptures and in worship. And we also need to decide that we will ‘praise and glorify God,’ which is to give him our thanks and to share this good news with everyone we encounter. Make your decision now to commit yourself to preparation and celebration by being present in worship as we hear again the promises and predictions and the realities and assurances that God gives to His children.
I encourage you to ‘come and see’ so that you may ‘praise and glorify’ God for the gift of Jesus Christ, the Savior born in a manger and who is “God with us.” Make your decision!
God has done a glorious and wonderful thing. Let us gather to celebrate and share the love of God that has made this possible. God invites all to ‘come and celebrate.’ Bring yourself and invite someone you know to join you in your decision to be present for this miracle of hope.
Wishing you a blessed Advent and a Merry Christmas!
Pastor Butler +