Summary: After Christmas 2010 focusing on the angels.
8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." 13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 14 "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests." 15 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 here we are, the day after Christmas. How are you doing? Are you still buzzing with the excitement of Christmas? Or… do you feel like you’ve had your bell rung? Are you a little run down… tired of the festivities… ready for this new year to get started already so we can just get on with our normal lives again. Dreading going back to work? It’s known as the post holiday blues… the “Ho Ho Hums.”
I imagine that we are not the only ones who have suffered from the “Ho Ho Hums.” Consider the characters of the nativity that we’ve spent these past several weeks talking about. What do you suppose it was like for them after Christmas.
How about the Wisemen? Scholars estimate that it took them several months to get to Bethlehem in the west… well, that trip is going to take them several months to get home to the east too. For them it meant a very LONG road home.
The Shepherds… after this amazing event… went back to being Shepherds. Went back to their lives of being hated and despised… outcast… unwanted.
How about Bethlehem… Bethlehem was bursting at the seams… imagine what it was like when those 20,000 visitors to pack up and leave after the census was over. That little town of 1,000 probably felt so small now… deserted really.
How about Mary and Joseph… they are on the run to Egypt because an angel warned them to flee. Doesn’t sound like a great time to me.
The mood being cast so far today is not one of joy, not one of hope, not one of peace, not one of love. Which is odd because this is SUPPOSED to be the season of hope, joy, peace, and love!
But there is one last character for us to focus on before we close the book on Christmas. The angels. More than anyone else in our Christmas narrative, the angels knew exactly what all of this meant. Imagine the joy of Gabriel as he got to go and tell Mary the baby was coming. Imagine the frustration and unbelief of the angel that went to Joseph and said, “C’mon man.” Imagine the incomparable happiness of the angel that announced the birth to the shepherds and had an entire company of heavenly hosts back her up as they broke into amazing song!
God has done something amazing… God in flesh… do you KNOW what this means. Mankind… creation itself has been yearning for God’s salvation… and here it is… the answer. God has done it. It’s like heaven has just tied the game up in fantastic fashion and the heavenly crowd is going wild! Do you suppose they are tired of it? Do you suppose they are ready for it all to just be DONE?
No, I don’t think so. I think there might be a small lesson to learn from the angels. I preach and preach about keeping the right mindset leading up to Christmas… but what about keeping the right mindset AFTER Christmas as well. Sure the day is over… but the joy of Christ’s arrival doesn’t have to be.
We should be more like the angels… we should be more like… BELLS!
Bells have been used throughout history for all kinds of occasions – for worship, for war, for peace, to warn of danger, to sound an alarm, to announce death, to proclaim liberty, to celebrate joy, to tell the time, to make music, and to announce something AMAZING.
Bells do in fact show up in scripture: Exodus 28:33-35 God instructs Moses concerning the creation of the High Priestly garment for Aaron, requiring gold bells to be sewn onto the hem of the sleeve so that the sound of the bells, as he moved inside the Holy Place, would indicate that he was alive and had not died! You know, if you need to tie bells to your pastor to tell if he is still alive or not… it just MIGHT be time for new pastor.