Discover the Wonder
Luke 2:8-20 (NLT)
That night some shepherds were in the fields outside the village, guarding their flocks of sheep. 9 Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terribly frightened, 10 but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news of great joy for everyone! 11 The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born tonight in Bethlehem, the city of David! 12 And this is how you will recognize him: You will find a baby lying in a manger, wrapped snugly in strips of cloth!”
13 Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God:
14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and peace on earth to all whom God favors.”
15 When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Come on, let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this wonderful thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
16 They ran to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. 17 Then the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. 18 All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished, 19 but Mary quietly treasured these things in her heart and thought about them often. 20 The shepherds went back to their fields and flocks, glorifying and praising God for what the angels had told them, and because they had seen the child, just as the angel had said.
One interesting incident that came out of making the movie, “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, was when they were filming the scene when Lucy first enters Narnia. The film crew took Georgie Henley, who plays the part of Lucy, blindfolded her and then led her onto to the set. They told her to close her eyes while they removed the blindfold. As the director called for the filming to begin, she was to open her eyes. She was literally seeing “Narnia” for the first time.
The effect was astounding. The awe and wonder in a child’s eyes was still there as she recounted the event.
Imagine that holy moment, when the shepherds gazed upon the Child Christ for the first time. I can imagine that their breath was taken away as their eyes beheld that wondrous sight. When everything was “just as the angel said.”
What would it have been like on that night of all nights?
What would we have thought? What would we have said? Could we have said anything?
Does anything amaze us any more?
Have we become so technologically advanced, so intellectually savvy, so special effects expectant that nothing grabs us anymore?
How do we discover the wonder once again?
How do we keep from yawning at angels?
Focus on the message of the angel.
God has come to earth.
Luke 2:10-12 (NLT)
but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news of great joy for everyone! 11 The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born tonight in Bethlehem, the city of David! 12 And this is how you will recognize him: You will find a baby lying in a manger, wrapped snugly in strips of cloth!”
Illustration: The Awesome Mystery of the Incarnation
An elephant was thoroughly enjoying himself as he splashed about in the river. A mouse was perched on the sandy shore. It was obvious that he was disturbed about something. The mouse yelled at the elephant, "Come out of the water at once."
The elephant laughed and said, "Why should I come out?"
The mouse was not about to be humiliated by this mountain of flesh. He kept yelling and yelling. The elephant realized that if he wanted any peace and quiet he had better come out of the water.
Slowly the elephant lumbered out of the water and stood towering over the mouse. "Now, why did you want me to come out of the water?"
The mouse looked up and said, "I wanted to see if you were wearing my bathing suit."
It is easier for us to understand how an elephant could be wearing a mouse’s bathing suit than it is for us to understand the awesome mystery of the incarnation that happened at Bethlehem -- God’s Word becomes flesh.
“’Twas much, that man was made like God before. But, that God should be made like man, much more.” – John Donne
When we consider the absurdity of the incarnation. We will be in awe.
Behold the Child.
To discover the wonder, one must look to Jesus.
Luke 2:15-16 (NLT)
When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Come on, let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this wonderful thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
16 They ran to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger.
“I read about a little boy who was in his first Christmas pageant. He was 5. He was one of the shepherds--you know, they wear their bathrobes and their sandals and carry cardboard crooks--not a lead shepherd, just a common shepherd standing in the back. But when it came time for the Nativity, he crowded around to the front so that he could see.
“Then, having seen, he stepped to the footlights and, looking out, cried out to his parents, ‘Mommy! Daddy! Mary had her baby, and it’s a boy!’”
– Bruce Thielemann, "Glory to God in the Lowest," Preaching Today, Tape No. 75.
How could we look upon the face of God and not be lost in wonder?
Luke 2:20 (NLT)
The shepherds went back to their fields and flocks, glorifying and praising God for what the angels had told them, and because they had seen the child, just as the angel had said.
In the book, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, right after the children have entered Narnia and encountered Mr. Beaver, who speaks to them of Aslan.
“Here the Beaver’s voice sank into silence and it gave one or two very mysterious nods. Then signaling to the children to stand as close around it as they possibly could, so that their faces were actually tickled by its whiskers, it added in a low whisper-
“‘They say Aslan is on the move-perhaps has already landed.’
“And now a very curious thing happened. None of the children knew who Aslan was any more than you do; but the moment the Beaver had spoken these words everyone felt quite different. Perhaps it has sometimes happened to you in a dream
that someone says something which you don’t understand but in the dream it feels as if it had some enormous meaning-either a terrifying one which turns the whole dream into a nightmare or else a lovely meaning too lovely to put into words, which makes the dream so beautiful that you remember it all your life and are always wishing you could get into that dream again. It was like that now. At the name of Aslan each one of the children felt something jump in its inside. Edmund felt a sensation of mysterious horror. Peter felt suddenly brave and adventurous. Susan felt as if some delicious smell or some delightful strain of music had just floated by her. And Lucy got the feeling you have when you wake up in the morning and realize that it is the beginning of the holidays or the beginning of summer.”
To gaze upon the Child Christ cannot leave us unaffected. It compels a response. In fact, everyone who saw Him, praised God. The shepherds, the wise men, Anna, Simeon all worshiped Him. Can we be any different?
It is as we worship Him that we discover the wonder of His majesty.
When little Georgie Henley opened her eyes on that movie set, she saw a brand new world. A world that had never existed before. She was filled with wonder. How could this be? What did it mean?
Our world has been transformed. Not by Hollywood magic, but by the very presence of God. Our world will never be the same. God is here. How can we not be different?
Let us open our eyes and discover the wonder of it all. Of God, though majestic in heaven, wrapped our sinful flesh around Himself and changed our world forever.