Responding To Christ (The Shepherd's Story)
By: Kristen L. McNulty
Reprint rights available on request. Email the author at email@example.com.
Flipping over to Luke chapter 2 in the Message:
There were sheepherders camping in the neighborhood. They had set night watches over their sheep. Suddenly, God’s angel stood among them and God’s glory blazed around them. They were terrified. The angel said, “Don’t be afraid. I’m here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide: A Savior has just been born in David’s town, a Savior who is Messiah and Master. This is what you’re to look for: a baby wrapped in a blanket and lying in a manger.”
At once the angel was joined by a huge angelic choir singing God’s praises:
Glory to God in the heavenly heights,
Peace to all men and women on earth who please him.
As the angel choir withdrew into heaven, the sheepherders talked it over. “Let’s get over to Bethlehem as fast as we can and see for ourselves what God has revealed to us.” They left, running, and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. Seeing was believing. They told everyone they met what the angels had said about this child. All who heard the sheepherders were impressed.
Although the angels give the shepherds no specific instruction, this was more like a holy public service announcement, the shepherds way of responding to this incredible news of Christ's birth was to first, go check it out for themselves.
Which leads to the question, this Christmas what are we doing? All around us is the wonderful news of Christmas and we can either get distracted by the wrapping and the presents and mile long to-do lists or we can take the time to go see the Christ child for ourselves.
So in 2017 where can He be found and how can we check out Christ for ourselves? Then, how can we respond to Him?
1. Jesus is found in the Word, the Bible. So this Christmas we respond to the message of Christmas by reading God's Word and getting to know Christ in the pages.
2. We're also told that where two or more believers are gathered, Christ is there among them. So this Christmas we respond to Christ by meeting together with other Christians, praying, worshiping and sharing our stories together of how we met Christ.
3. And finally, we're told Christ is found in us and shines through us. 1 Corinthians 2:15-16 says,
Through us, [God] brings knowledge of Christ. Everywhere we go, people breathe in the exquisite fragrance. Because of Christ, we give off a sweet scent rising to God, which is recognized by those on the way of salvation—an aroma redolent with life. But those on the way to destruction treat us more like the stench from a rotting corpse.
So we respond to Christmas by being a sweet scent and showing Christ to those around us. Volunteer at your local food bank. Put together a basket of food and gifts for those who are in need. Bring a box of chocolates or donuts to the police officers, firefighters, paramedics or hospital workers who will be spending Christmas apart from their families in order to protect us. Send cards to the troops. Invite someone lonely over for dinner. When we love, we shine the love of Christ to a dark world, reminiscent of the star that led the way to Christ on that very first Christmas.
And finally, what did the shepherds do after encountering Christ? One thing they didn't do is didn't keep it silent!
"After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child." (Luke 2:17 NLT)
This Christmas season the greatest gift we can give Christ is pouring out His love to the world around us and this Christmas the greatest gift we can give others is by sharing with them this wonderful news we've found.
Christ is far too precious of a gift to remain unwrapped. Let's share Him far and wide this Christmas season!
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