Monday, December 19, 2011

O Holy Night Luke 2:1-20

There are so many side stories told at Christmas. And many of these stories are rabbit trails. Upland bird hunters know the frustration of watching even a great dog chase down a rabbit trail rather than a pheasant. It's easy chase up the wrong trail at Christmas. Even the Gospels have stories of secondary importance.

Christmas is time to focus on what's most important. Merchants tell us the wonders of their wears. Great actors and directors tell us stories of family function and dysfunction. Even the work of biblical scholars can add the the confusion as researchers debate the historicity of the census detailed in Luke 2:1-5 and other points in the story aswell.

Luke's Christmas story tells of orders to travel. Rome wanted a Census and for Joseph and Mary that meant travel to his hometown. The Roman authorities weren't trying to build a Christmas card list. The census provided information about money and manpower for Rome's military and government. The story isn't Caesar Augustus, Quirinius, or Herod. These men of great power are only side stories. God has come to us, in the body of a little boy. This is the greatest story. Listen to the words in Luke 2:6-7 this is the story, the real trail. There's great excitement chasing a dog whose on the right trail. Stay on it, because this is the story that matters.

Amidst all the bustle God came. The process took 9 months from Annunciation to Mary(Luke 1:26-38) to the night when angels met shepherds in the fields watching over their flocks (Luke 2:8-14). The baby in the manger is the confirmation not only of what Mary heard from Gabriel (Luke 1:31-33) but of what the prophets had spoken centuries before.

Chasing after the right trail:
It was a Holy Night when God, truly great, humbled himself. He came as baby to bring peace in the midst of the world's sin and turmoil. God came in pursuit of us, hot on our trail, unexpectedly camouflaged in humility both for the lowly and for the self-exultant. Jesus came, God in flesh to actively pursue us and to bring his kingdom near to us. The shepherds went to see what had happened (Luke 2:15-19) and they left rejoicing (Luke 2:20). The Words had been confirmed.

Christmas ended and the shepherds returned to wherever and whatever they'd come from. The returned to the same work and sheep and somehow what they had seen in that night, the angels, the heavenly host, the baby, the mother and father had made it all different. May it be the same for us this Christmas. Remember Christ has come, Christ has died, Christ has risen, Christ will come again. This is the hope and faith of the church from the days of the apostle's on. This is the central story of scripture and it is the reason we leave our Christmas celebrations to return to the same family, home, and work and somehow be different.

Christmas Blessings, John


Lloyd Strickland said...

Thanks John....Christmas Greetings to you and yours from Clearwater Christian Church in British Columbia. Lloyd Strickland, Minister

John, an unlikely pastor said...

thanks for reading. I hope that the wonder of Christmas hasn't worn away yet for you and yours.