Who were those shepherds who saw the angels that Christmas night? The answer to that question is more important than you know.
They are us. Their story is our story. Their situation is our situation. We share a common theme. We share a common enemy. The terror that stalked their night is the very one that preys on the hopes of believers today. They are so much like us! Their future was sold to pay a debt to a foreign empire. For them it was Rome for us it is China. Their leaders forged an unholy alliance with Augustus Caesar. Our leaders appease our enemies, attack Christian values and apologize to the world for our greatness.
The faith of their Fathers was diluted by false ministers and mocked by pagans. Our Faith suffers the same fate! Their weak economy created a crime wave that forced them to stay out in the fields watching their sheep. We spend hours at our job, actually hoping for overtime and then the final insult of a cruel commute home. Can you relate to getting through a day by choking down emotions and robotic ally doing your job?
What do we want most for Christmas? Let me brave an answer. What we want most in all of this mess is good news. We could sure use some good news! It would be so wonderful to see the unrelenting torrent of scary headlines, dire predictions and disappointing reports swallowed up by good news! But what would be good news to you right now? What message do you need from God right now?
What we want most is a visitation of God. It is easy to think that we want something else but nothing would help us more, nothing would do the job better, nothing can compare to it.
San Jose California 1982:
I watched San Jose enveloped by the Glory of God. It was a time when the economy was as bad as it is now. The prime rate soared to 22% and unemployment was even worse than today. Yet thousands crowded into the meeting every night for 22 weeks! The atmosphere in the building evaporated fear and worries.
Yes, the people needed jobs desperately but somehow it was overruled by the Glory. Each night they sang their hearts out, each night tears of joy washed away the cares of their life. Other things became important. Something priceless had come to them and they were not about to let human concerns rob them of this precious moment of their life.
I am a Pentecostal it is that simple. I know what it means to have the Holy Spirit drench me. I know that when the Spirit of God is upon me fear, worry and anxiety vanish.
What the Angels did is turn their priorities upside down. We know the Bible says “seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all of these things will be added unto you,” but in our daily grind it can seem to be an impossible task. Moments ago these men were taut with tension and defensive of their herd to point where they would have gladly have fought to the death to protect their flock. Now they are ready to run to a manger oblivious of the sheep they leave behind.
Yes we need jobs, healing and many other things but what we need most is the Glory. Glory will make our soul gaze at God and while we gaze distracted by His splendor God will fix the issues of our life. Modern pulpits have done us a great disservice by focusing on “how to” Christianity. It seems so right to get practical teaching on relationships, money and handling emotions. And that is the very problem we learn to “handle our lives” and “fix” ourselves.
This is the bait of Satan: to get us to strive and fret and battle by our wits and not by the anointing of the Holy Spirit. What leaders are failing to do is to seek and obtain a move of God among their people.
Why did God skip the theologians, the Priests and the King and send these angels to the shepherds? This is the question of the ages! How embarrassing to all of those in power and to all of those who made a life out studying the prophets, reading the times and being “in the know” who were overlooked in favor of these shepherds!
We are constantly trying to qualify for a career, a credit card, a club or some kind of status but are we qualified for a visitation of God?
What if something good can come out of these “bad times”? Maybe it was an worse time back when you had money and toys. Maybe in these hard times you are holding your loved ones closer, praying a little deeper and trying a little harder to be humble and grateful. Maybe instead of suffering, you are merely getting into position to be visited by God.