The Amazing Message of Christmas
All faithful Christians are like the shepherds from the Bethlehem hills. We are called from our everyday activities to see what God is planning—a world of love and peace and hope and joy. God’s plan comes to focus in Jesus, one humbly born, laid in a manger, who through Easter becomes both message and messenger of God’s eternal intentions.
The story is amazing; completely amazing!
We don’t know their names, those shepherds going about their work on a Middle Eastern night, people at the bottom of the social and economic ladder; honored by God with a chorus of good tidings, a song of peace never before heard: “And you will find the babe...”
Those nameless shepherds made haste, found the family, saw the baby, and then returned to the keeping of sheep; they were taken into God’s confidence, and changed. They could not keep quiet.
“All who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them.”
Amazing: Peace, hope, joy, and love—realities that cannot be destroyed by death.
Did we, heirs in faith of the shepherds, amaze the world in 2006?
Did we amaze with commitment to peace—peace for all of the earth, in Iraq, Israel/Palestine, Sudan, Afghanistan, Haiti, and Pakistan? Did we in peace calm the hearts of the angry, the addicted, and the abused? Did we in peace lead the violent and the outraged toward healing?
Did we amaze with hope—expectation that God’s will be done in the dealings between and within nations, families, churches, and communities? Did we in hope provide for the health and wholeness of the most vulnerable among us, of children, mothers, and the elderly? Did we live the Good News of Christ Jesus in our everyday worlds, showing others what it means to be washed by grace?
Did we amaze with joy—thanksgiving for all of God’s seasons? Were we joyful in abundance and in want? Cheerful in sunlight and shadows? Did we in joy rely on God to guide the church through valleys and up mountains?
Did we amaze with love—compassion and caring for all kinds and conditions of people? Did we in love minister to the hungry, the homeless, the stranger, and the imprisoned? Did we in love challenge the Herods, the Pilates, and the moneychangers to save them from their cruelty, indifference, and greed? Did we walk in the footsteps of the despised, the fearful, and the abandoned?
Have we, United Methodists, amazed the world with our faith, our reliance on the amazing grace of God made flesh in Jesus, the Christ?
It is never too late to start, to make known the amazing truth about the child of Bethlehem.
R. Randy Day
Date posted: Dec 19, 2006