Summary: God's glory, through Jesus (God with us), is close and tangible and brings peace, not fear.
To avoid offending anybody, the school dropped religion altogether and started singing about the weather. At my son’s school, they now hold the winter program in February and sing increasingly nonmemorable songs such as “Winter Wonderland,” “Frosty the Snowman” and—this is a real song—”Suzy Snowflake,” all of which is pretty funny because we live in Miami.
A visitor from another planet would assume that the children belonged to the Church of Meteorology. (Dave Barry in his “Notes on Western Civilization” (Chicago Tribune Magazine, July 28, 1991)
A lady waited until the last minute to send her Christmas cards. She rushed into a store and bought a package of 50 cards without really looking at them. She rushed home, signed and addressed 49 of them without really looking at them.
On Christmas Day when things had quieted down somewhat she found a leftover card and finally read the message she had sent with the 49 other cards to her friends. Much to her dismay, it read: "This card is just to say – A little gift is on the way."
Here is a new product you might want to consider: the “upside down Christmas tree”. The creator says, “this unique 7' pre-lit fir is inverted to ensure a smaller footprint for less-spacious areas, and allowing more room for the accumulation of presents underneath.” Available at Home Depot…
Christmas shopping, though fun, can be difficult. Did you hear about the guy that bought his wife a beautiful diamond ring for Christmas? A friend of his said, "I thought she wanted one of those sporty 4-Wheel drive vehicles." "She did," he replied. "But where am I gonna find a fake Jeep?"
Advent week 2:
Amid everything that the Christmas season is in the world around us – concerts and cards and trees and gifts, I’d like to bring it back this morning to Jesus. Let’s talk about Jesus, let’s think about Jesus, let’s remember Jesus, let’s celebrate Jesus.
Last week we talked about the glory of God revealed to us in the form of a normal, human infant, and I encouraged us to take the natural opportunities that the Christmas season provides us to enter conversations that are about Jesus. I wonder if any of you had any opportunities and if you would like to share that story as an encouragement to the rest of us?
8 That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, 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 terrified, 10 but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. 11 The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! 12 And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”
13 Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in highest heaven,
and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”
15 When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
16 They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. 17 After seeing him, 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 kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often. 20 The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them.
Glory in a Field:
This passage contains the word “glory” three times. First, the angel appears and “the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them”. This conjures up images for us of bright, shining lights surrounding this single angel and shining brightly down on the shepherds. We imagine them shielding their eyes, while looking up to the sky trying to see who is speaking. The Christmas cards and paintings all have the angels flying in the sky. But that is not what the Bible says – it says the angel “appeared among them”. Angels in Scripture appear in human form, subject to the same laws of gravity that everyone else is, so I’m pretty sure that even here, even now, God is not up high in the sky and out of reach. Sure, a bright light from the sky would be scary – we would wonder about aliens coming to abduct us – but this description is closer. The angel “appeared among them” – the actual word there means “to stand by” – and the “radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them”.