“When the angels had left them.” Luke 2:15 NIV
“Christmas is about seeing the Savior, not just hearing the angels’ song.”
However wonderful the experience of any single moment, how you allow the impact of that moment to shape your subsequent choices and actions will determine the influence and direction of your life more than the experience itself. It is easy to let a wonderful moment tempt you to chase such emotional highs without examining what is God’s intent when gracing your life in such a way.
That’s true of Christmas. The true celebration of Christmas can only be accomplished when you grasp the amazing love and grace of God in sending His Son to be your Savior. See John 3:16-21. Christmas can and should be filled with wonderful experiences – happiness, loving generosity, celebrating family and friends, heightened religious interest, and a general sense of emotional and spiritual well being. After the holidays, after the presents are opened, when you, along with family and friends, return to everyday life – what then? What’s left? How will you be different?
Imagine the shepherds’ emotions – angels singing boisterously and gloriously, with the glory of God enveloping them on every side. Read Luke 2:7-20. Trust me, they were caught up in the moment, in every sense of the word. Routine was broken, the common became sacred, adrenalin was pumping and their nerve endings were pulsing with sensations. But as suddenly as the angels came, the angels left. The songs ended; the dark of the Judean night returned. Things were again as they had been, or were they? What would these shepherds do after the angels’ song?
After the angels’ song, “The shepherds said to one another, ‘Let’s go to Bethlehem, and see this that has happened (‘a Savior has been born to you today’), which the Lord told us about.’ So the shepherds hurried off and found . . the baby, who was lying in a manger.” Luke 2:15-16 NIV.
I notice several things in those phrases. Their experience prompted them to make choices and take actions impacted by what they had seen and heard. They shared their experience, encouraging one another to make right choices. They accepted the angel’s words as the Lord’s word, and as surely “happened.” What trust and pure belief! These simple, ordinary men gave first priority to seeing the Savior, of Whom the angels sang.
They had other options, like the ones you have today. They might have fled from such a surprising and frightening sight and sound. What surprises you can also frighten you. They could simply have dismissed the experience and returned to their safe and familiar routines. They could have relished the exhilaration, forever attempting to capture or recreate the emotional rush they felt, allowing a spectacular heavenly visitation to distract them from the preeminent Heavenly visitation of all history. That would have been tragic, yet it happens to a lot of people.
Here’s what they did, and what you and I should do if we truly understand Christmas. They responded immediately to a new reality, “So they hurried off and found the baby.” It is not about hearing angels’ songs; Christmas is about seeing the Savior! And having your life changed. Joseph and Mary could never again be the same, nor were the shepherds, nor the Wise Men, nor any among the generations since who have truly seen the Savior and received Him into their hearts. How about you?
My prayer for you today is: be satisfied with nothing less than kneeling before the Savior in wonder and worship.