“- The Shepherds said to one another, let us go– and see this thing– and when they had seen it-” Luke 2: 15,17
See What? What did those shepherds see that night in Bethlehem’s stable? Did they merely see a poor mother who was forced to make a pile of straw a birthing place, or did they see beyond the manger, and the straw, to the meaning behind the baby’s birth?
Simply stated– those shepherds saw Christmas, for Christ is Christmas!
What did they see? They saw what was in their hearts to see. That’s true with all of us; we approach every experience of life with our presuppositions, our memories, our prejudices, we see what we bring into the scene with us, and we bring into it what we want to see.
Our eyesight depends largely upon our insight. Our reactions tell more about ourselves than they do about an outward event. Our blindness is not because the thing doesn’t exist– not because Christmas is meaningless– but because we haven’t brought the proper insight with us.
We only see the things which square with our attitudes and lives, the things our hearts are prepared to see. How will you see Christmas this year? How did some of the personalities of the Christmas story view it?
What did the Innkeeper See? He really saw nothing at all! Before him stood a wary, dirty traveler with his uncomfortable, pregnant wife, looking for a place to spend the night. Because there was no room, he shut Christ out of his inn and his life. Oh, he wasn’t cruel! He didn’t put them out on the street. He moved some cattle aside to make a spot for them
In the stable. Yet, like so many people there was no room in the center of his life-the inn, his place of business, the driving force of his life.
So he relegated Christ to the periphery. See, he didn’t offer them a place in his own house, nor are we led to believe he even checked to see who they were, or what the story was behind their journey. He missed the marvelous thing that happened…..before his eyes.
Herod saw Christ fearfully: and to him it wasn’t a time of joy. It was an hour of reckoning. That tiny baby wasn’t just an infant, but one who would disturb evil people. He saw the Christ child as a threat to his very throne. So he determined to destroy even the memory of Jesus. Herod didn’t judge the manger; he judged himself. He saw what was in his heart to see!
The Shepherds Saw Christmas As Joyful Experience. They caught the enthusiasm of the angels, and they saw Bethlehem’s baby as the savior of the world. The infinite had become an infant, and they were lost in the wonder of it all, so we are told that they returned to their flocks “glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen.” (2:20)
And where did they go after that? Back to work: Back to the boredom of tending sheep. There were pastures to cultivate, fences to mend, wolves to fight off. Several new lambs were soon to be born and needed to be cared for. Then they had to shear the wool and sell it in the crowded, competitive markets, where the merchants bargained and haggled and fought!
They saw the angels and the glory of it all, but then they returned to the commonplace world of work and war and wool and worry. They returned to a common place in an uncommon manner. It was the same job, but they were not the same people.
After you have seen Christmas 2014, how will you return to work– to the hamper full of dirty clothes, to the office, to the factory, to the store, to all those things that give you problems, to the irritating things of life!
The Shepherds went back with a Glory!
I trust you too will See Christmas Joyfully and return to your daily routine in the warmth of its glow!
Rev. Duane E. Andrus