Listen to this devotional:
Luke 2:8-11,13-14 – And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord." Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favour rests." (NIV)
When I try to imagine what the shepherds witnessed, the best description I can muster seems totally inadequate: an awe-inspiring light show, an angelic proclamation, and a chorus of the army of heaven praising God and invoking His peace. What they saw and heard was so important that it caused them to hurry off to Bethlehem to check whether what they had been told was real. After they saw the Messiah, Christ the Lord, they spread the amazing word.
Seeing angels and then the Saviour changed the shepherds' lives. It sent them out of their fields and into town! With that experience, how could their hearts not have been changed? It is beyond comprehension how any of them could deny the good news of great joy for all people after the eye-popping, jaw-dropping experience that we read about in Luke. Could we say that after the glory of the Lord shone around them and they witnessed such a light show and angelic proclamation in the fields, there was lots of room in the shepherds' hearts for Christ, the Lord?
Most of us have sung these words at Christmas:
- Joy to the world! The Lord is come:
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare him room,
And heaven and nature sing.
All of us know of hearts where there could be more room for Christ. I know that I want more room for Christ in my own heart. What is the signal for me to clear clutter out of my heart? I frisk my attitudes and beliefs using the list of what is "love" and "not love" in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8: Am I patient, kind, rejoicing in truth, always protecting, trusting, hoping, and ready to persevere? Or do I find myself expressing "not love": envy, boasting, false pride, rudeness, seeking selfish desires, a short temper, unwillingness to forgive, delighting in evil, and being ready to quit?
This Advent, I have a project. I want my heart to change and make more room for Christ. When I want to weed something unlovely from my innermost being, I use this promise:
1 John 1:9 – If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (NIV)
To me, that good news promise is captivating, glorious, almost beyond comprehension, and love inspiring — an idea with power to amaze me equally as the shepherds were amazed. And just like the shepherds, it sends me to seek and find more of Him.
Merry Christmas! Let's imagine what the shepherds began to realize when Christ was born. Let us think what it did for them and what more it could do for each of us!
Prayer: We praise You, Father! We ask You, in the name of Christ, to help us to be so full of Your amazing love that it spills out to touch everyone around us. Amen.