I hope you’re ready because Christmas is just around the corner. We’ve been planning, plotting and saving and hopefully we’ll get to see our plans produce some good Christmas memories. This year we have a new member of the family, Charli Jane, and she is sure to take us back to a simpler Christmas time. A time when you jumped for joy at just seeing the lights twinkle on the tree or all the ornaments so shiny and beautiful. There was no pressure on Christmas, just pure joy. Everywhere you looked there was something else to make you smile. And if we could remember back that far, I bet each one of us were overjoyed the first time we experienced it. It didn’t matter how much you had, you had joy. Too bad we have to grow up and “learn” somehow to measure our joy by what we have, instead of the child-like look at what it is.
This Christmas why don’t we try to imagine how it felt as a child to experience Christmas for the first time. Try to remember how blown away that you might have been seeing your first real Christmas tree. Or the smell of the house when they brought the tree in for decoration. And don’t forget the cookies, snow cream and other winter treats. A few years into childhood, try to remember how excited you were when you realized that the “BIG” present under the tree was yours! And how that you couldn’t sleep until you found out what it was.
If you’ve been successful so far remembering all the above (and more I hope) take it a step further and try to imagine being a shepherd in a lonely dark field and an angel appears with a bright light from heaven. The scriptures describe this angel standing before them and glory of the Lord shining around them. One minute you’re standing there watching over your flock and the next minute you have bright lights and an angel. Then, the angel starts talking. I can only imagine what my reaction would have been. The Bible tells us that they were terrified. Another way of saying it is “they feared a great fear.” That would have to be an understatement for me. The angel would probably have had to run me down OR wake me up.
What the angel told them was the good news about the Messiah being born in the city of David. The angel even told them a sign about how they would find him and know that it was the Messiah. I imagine that they were beginning to feel better about all this when the scriptures say that SUDDENLY there was a heavenly host with the angel and they were praising God and saying “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to people He favors!” Try to imagine how much the shepherd’s world has been changed in just a few moments on a dark night in the fields. I can see the skies filled with angels singing praises to God and announcing this arrival of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. I can imagine the shepherds eyes being wide open in wonder as they witnessed this event. I can even imagine the shepherds as they are older and someone asking about this and their eyes would still light up when they remembered. I bet that no matter what happened to the shepherds, they could close their eyes at any time and see again the skies filled with a heavenly host singing praises to God and declaring peace on earth to people HE favors.
As we try to remember our youth and our excitement as a child at Christmas, let’s also remember what it means. Move away from all the pressures of life, the presents, the hurried schedules and move to a quiet place in the midst of the darkness where we can hear the host of heaven saying “Glory to God in the highest heaven and peace on earth to people He favors.”