Week 3: Nurturing the habit of faithful responsiveness
Luke 2:9-20 – Shepherds – Practising Looking
The shepherd searched and found!
Many will hear this snippet of the greatest story ever told in the coming days. Preachers around the world will relay the Good News of the angels; Good News to bring joy to all the people – news that a saviour was born!
In our own nation, the recipients of this heralding will be sitting in pews, gathering around the community Christmas tree and opening cards with these precious words enclosed.
But then what? Will they leave the pew, turn their backs on the tree and throw down the card to look for Jesus? That’s what the shepherds did when they heard the Good News; they immediately went on a journey to go and look for Jesus.
Their looking was rewarded with seeing and finding, and as they saw and found, God spread the message of the angels to the people of Bethlehem via the shepherds – the message that the one whom many had been waiting for had arrived; the message that this dear baby in the manger was the messiah.
However glorious the moment on the hillside would have been, it wasn’t the hearing of the angel’s message that transformed the shepherds and put them on the quickest discipleship programme in history. No, it was what they did next; they set off on a journey to go and look for Jesus, and in looking they found him.
Many years later Jesus said ‘Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.’ (Matthew 7:7)
My hope for our congregations this Christmas is that they will, like the shepherds, receive the jaw dropping news of the angels via our preachers, so much so that the glory of the Lord will shine around them and that they will be propelled to go and track down Jesus immediately.
How delightful would it be to run into them on their way back home and see them glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, exactly as it had been told to them?!
Heavenly Father, thank you Lord for this wonderful opportunity for your life altering arrival to be heralded in our communities this Christmas. May your Holy Spirit preside over every message given; whether in preaching, carolling or the written words in Christmas cards. And may the Good News of the angels send the hearers on a journey to look for you until they find you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Practising for Christmas is a series of reflections for advent contributed by regional staff from the four Baptist Associations represented by ‘Seventy-two’. Catch up with previous reflections here.