Reflections by Rev. Jim Nichols, Associate Pastor, Christ Church UM (Louisville)
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
God invites all to the story - all to the Good News that was born in a cave and placed in the manger in Bethlehem. God had drawn near. Through Jesus, the shepherds’ story, and our story, was forever changed. Christmas and Advent is the purposeful preparation of that annual celebration. This is what the songs proclaim. This is the story we tell to the world each year. Sadly, we often rush through this season in reckless abandon and forget that worship is what this season is ultimately all about.
This Advent season is our chance to celebrate the wondrous moment when God entered our world to make things right. It is a season of worship. As we come to the end of this first week of Advent, have you stayed in worship? How could you worship and remain in that place throughout the rest of the weekend? Take some time today, and share with a friend, coworker or family members some ways in which you could worship together and celebrate the LIFE that was given us all through the manger of Bethlehem.
Image credit: JESUS MAFA. The birth of Jesus with shepherds, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. http://diglib.library.vanderbilt.edu/act-imagelink.pl?RC=48387 [retrieved November 29, 2011].