Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Angel Paid a Visit

In our previous post in this 4 part Christmas series  we paused after the Angels proclaimed the birth of Jesus to shepherds tending their sheep.
We review the scene so far.
Bethlehem  bursting at the seams; overrun with those whose roots were there.  Many traveling days to adhere to the decree of Caesar Augustus, that all the people of the Roman Empire were to be registered, each to his own city.
Mary and Joseph were included to be counted and while there the baby due to be born would wait no longer.
When we left the scene Mary had gathered her new son into her arms,  wrapped him in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger (an animal feeding trough) and the Angel of the Lord announces the news of a great joy that will be to all the people  to shepherds tending their flocks nearby.
I  read of  the glory of the Lord flashing and shining all about them as the angel appeared and I wonder what was going through their minds at that moment.  The bible says they were terribly frightened.  That tells me that this was not a usual occurrence….angels appearing in the midst of sheep tending.
 I wonder how I would have reacted in their place.  Would I have been immediately calmed when this visitor said “don’t be afraid.  I bring you good news of great joy which will come to all the people. “ ?  Or would more information have been necessary…the birth itself  perhaps and why “this” baby was reason for God to send His angels to visit shepherds?  Would I want a description and location of the event?  Would you?
 From the account written in Luke the shepherds must have needed the details along with the inclusion of a visit by the heavenly host (God’s angelic army).  For at the angelic departure we read that they turned to each other and decided to GO  (with haste) and see this “thing” for themselves..this thing that God had  purposely informed them of.  
They found the little family as the angel described and in turn told others…the Messiah promised by God through the prophets had arrived! 
Do you think they wondered  “why a baby?”  “how will he save us?”
What would you have thought or wondered if you were in the shepherd’s shoes (sandals)?
The text continues that those who heard their account were astounded and marveled at what they were told.
Mary quietly kept “all these things” inside and “weighed and pondered them in her heart”.
Mind boggling.

                                                                                                                            ….To be continued….

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