When I lived in Arizona, the time of day I loved most was evening because of the many beautiful sunsets. The amazing array of colors and textures would often make me stop and stare in awe.
I recall one evening, as I drove home with my four daughters, the clouds caught the rays of the setting sun and changed from pinks and oranges to purples and blues. Three of my daughters and I were oohing and aahing as we watched the display. My fourth daughter glanced out the window and said, “I don’t see what’s so special.” We were shocked that she didn’t enjoy the sight as much as we did.
Thinking about that evening makes me also remember the story of the birth of a special baby in Bethlehem. I picture that city teeming with people who were there to be counted for the census. The inns were full. I’m sure people’s homes were filled to the brim with relatives. I imagine even the stables were overflowing with animals brought by the influx of travelers.
“And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” Luke 2:13-14 KJV
You are probably very familiar with the story of the shepherds out in the hills with the sheep. A choir of angels appeared to them. An amazing sight. I wonder if the colors were blazing into the heavens making the shepherds speechless with awe. What matters most is those shepherds heard the message and sought out the baby, Jesus.
Meanwhile, what about the people in the city? The teeming crowds. This is a question I ponder every year. They were even closer to the Christ child. Did they forget to seek God and thus missed the most important message of all time? I picture the song of the angels rippling through the air, there for anyone to hear, if they take the time to listen. I picture the skies lit up with the glory of God as praises were sung to Him.
Were the women in Bethlehem too busy cooking, cleaning, making sure everyone had a place to sleep? Were they visiting with people they hadn’t seen in ages? Sharing recipes? Talking about their children?
Were the men busy caring for animals, talking about planting or raising herds? Were they discussing the government and how difficult the trip had been? Were they back-slapping and greeting one another? Maybe arguing or talking about other tribes.
What were they all doing that they missed seeing the glory of the message of Christ’s birth? Perhaps, they did see, but for whatever reason, chose to say, “I don’t see what’s so special.”
Each Christmas I am threatened with all the hubbub of shopping, candy making, parties, decorating, visiting and on the list goes. Every year there seems to be one more thing added to my to do items. If I’m not careful it’s easy for me to lose focus and to forget to acknowledge the One the season is celebrating. I am in danger of keeping my eyes fixed on all that is around me, pulling me to get this or that done.
Like those shepherds of old, I want to hear that singing and to gaze up—to see the wonder and glory of a God who loves me beyond understanding. To see a Savior who gave His life for me. To bask in a reminder of beauty beyond anything I’ve ever experienced before.
I hope you will take a moment to “listen and look up” this Christmas season. Enjoy the love that is pouring out of Heaven. Enjoy God’s gift to us all.
“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given…” Is. 9:6 KJV