In my last post on Advent I mentioned how on the night Jesus was born a group of shepherds tending their flocks, in the still of the night, received a visitor.
No ordinary visitor, but “the angel of the Lord.”
An angel has never visited me but I expect it would be mind-boggling and indeed frightening. This is confirmed in the first 2 chapters of Luke where Zechariah, then Mary, then Joseph (this is actually in Matthew 1) and finally, the shepherds, all received such a visitation. In each situation, the angel’s first few words included: “Do not be afraid.” So obviously each individual needed some reassurance.
But in the case of the shepherds, they didn’t just receive a single angel. After some initial introductions in which the “angel of the Lord” eased their initial fears, look what happened next:
“And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:
‘Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!’” (Luke 2: 13-14 NKJV)
A multitude or an entire army of angels appears. It makes me think of that scene in The Lord of the Rings where for as long as the eye can see, there were soldiers marching on the plain.
Wow! Wow! And more wow!
Interestingly, we don’t get to read how the shepherds felt. Words can’t really describe it. However, the fact they immediately decide to obey, to do what the single angel had said to them, indicates the experience filled them with belief and determination. “Go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” (v15)
Talk about a revelation. And one that led to reaction and obedience.
I’m a member of a launch team, affectionately named The PARTYMOB, for Margaret Feinberg’s new book “Wonderstruck: Awaken to the Nearness of God”. We received a sneak peak of the book, a handful of chapters, and I can’t wait to get my hands on the rest of it.
Margaret outlines more about the book on her blog that you can access here. I encourage you to take a few minutes to read and listen to what’s on Margaret’s heart.
Being an avid learner I’m continually seeking more knowledge of Jesus. But Margaret proposes there is more to Jesus than mere knowledge. He gives us the opportunity to experience Him and all the wonder He longs for us to enjoy.
“God invites us to look up, open our eyes to the wonder all around us, and seize every opportunity to encounter Him. This isn’t a passive expectation but an active one, the kind prompting us to elbow our way to Jesus, knowing He longs to meet us with a hearty embrace and sometimes even twirl us through the air.”1
Like the shepherds, they had an experience of God. That experience led them to act and to adore. Jesus.
Christmas is now a week away. Jesus is coming.
Let’s approach this Christmas with expectation in our hearts by asking Jesus to reveal His wonder to us.
We might be surprised by what we see and experience.
Let’s pray we are.
“Wonderstruck” releases on Christmas Day, yes, I didn’t know such things happened. If you pre-order it before Christmas Day, Margaret will bless you with a bunch of exclusive goodies to the value of $300. And at the moment, it’s only $7.57 on Amazon, Barnes & Noble. I placed my order yesterday.
Let’s choose to live Wonderstruck this Christmas.
Notes: 1. “Wonderstruck: Awaken to the Nearness of God”, Margaret Feinberg, Worthy Publishing 2012, p27 of the Sneak Peak.