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Experience Christmas (12/11/2011)

From: T.M. Schoewe

Christmas is coming. But if you want a meaningful Christian experience it will not come to you. YOU must go to it!

If you do nothing during this season of Advent (which means “coming”) you will not be preparing for the event we celebrate and you will find nothing in all the wrappings and gifts; and as you go out on Christmas day you will find very little traffic, with the streets mostly empty and most of the stores closed, you will find your Xmas quite empty.

If you are interested in a real encounter with the Savior of all mankind you have to prepare to listen to the public relations agents that Almighty God has commissioned.

The first agent is called the “Angel of the Lord.” Whether it was Gabriel or Michael, we do not know, but the message is very clear. It is “unto you.” It is followed by a multitude telling you to praise God because the war is over. God is at peace with the rebels of earth though many of them will continue to fight and create wars around this globe.

The first receivers of this joyous Word were shepherds watching their sheep (who by the way would become God’s special agents in reporting this joyous news.) The response of the shepherds was very immediate and clear. “Let’s go!” “Go to Bethlehem.” “And see this thing that has come to pass!”

Why do you suppose the Maker of heaven and earth gave this exploding news to shepherds? Wouldn’t it have been better to give it more credibility by giving it to some of the robust Pharisees on the streets of the capital Jerusalem or those who were coming out of the great temple?

Who were these shepherds? They were regarded by the society of that day as being on the lower rung of the ladder as far as people were concerned. They were considered as liars and not permitted to testify in any court of law. They may have had difficulty in counting their sheep or in numbering them in trade but the Lord God was interested in them because of their occupation with sheep.

The shepherds said, “Let’s go” to Bethlehem! Why? Because it is the “city of David.” And who is David? He was a shepherd! Not only that, he was chosen by God to be the King of Israel and from whose lineage would come into this world, “Christ the Lord,” the Savior of mankind. So Mary and Joseph go to Bethlehem (David’s city) because they were of the house and lineage of David, the shepherd.

In closing let’s look at David the shepherd boy who according to the flesh was a great, great, great, grandfather of our Lord Jesus. Looking into scripture in the book of Kings and Chronicles you will find much more than you may think you need to know about David the 7th son of Jesse who was in the lineage of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob who were connected to that first promise of Christmas made to the original rebels in the first garden in this world.

David indeed became a great king and was respected by the world of his day, including his enemies. But this great king we discover was also a great sinner! This great soldier coveted a fellow soldier’s wife. He not only coveted, he stole, he committed adultery with her, he lied, he murdered her husband and completely broke the first table of the Lord’s commands. We often say with a smile, Moses broke all Ten commandments at once (coming down from Mt. Sinai), but David broke one right after another to make ten.

It would take his pastor, the prophet Nathan to tell David the story of a great rich man who took his poor neighbor’s sheep. When David in anger asks for his name, so that he might punish this man, Nathan said, “Thou art the man.”

From that time on, David who was also a great musician, wrote many psalms in which he sings “the blues,” but there is one we all know (Psalm 23) in which the shepherd boy sings “The Lord is my shepherd” wherein he is telling us, that the Lord is not only a feeding shepherd and a leading shepherd, but that He is also a bleeding shepherd, as he sings, “He restores my soul,” which we know He did when He died on a cross for us all.

So there you have a bit of advent preparation; for Christmas is coming. Like the shepherds, we need to be “going” to Bethlehem to find and face ourselves and the joyful reason Christmas came and is coming again. You need to find yourself in Christmas.

Sine cera, from one of the sheep.

 

 

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