One of the things I love about the Bible is God’s understated humor. Oh yes, it’s there if you look. An example of this is found in the wondrous account of our Savior’s birth. Here is the setting: Shepherds were outside of Bethlehem with their flocks. It was night-time, and in that culture, in that time, people actually tended to sleep at night, and work during the day. Go figure… There were no TV’s, video games, and late night shopping. So, it is dark, the shepherds were likely settled in for the evening… maybe even slipping into the land of nod… when… Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified. (Luke 2:9 NLT) Can you just imagine it? I’m thinking the surprise pegged their freak-meter for a bit… but oh what a blessing awaited them. Invited to view the Christ child!
Christmas is often a time for anticipation and surprises. Some good: like a child receiving their gifts; maybe your spouse really nailed it with your gift; it might be running into or hearing from family and friends you haven’t seen in a while. Some surprises… well… maybe they come packaged a bit differently, but they can be good… a real blessing also. Yesterday I had great plans, a terrific schedule laid out to work on this Musings and my next message. I had to run to Costco to get some office supplies, and thought early would be better, maybe not so many crowds. It was busy, but I got some paper and stamps for the office, and milk, cheese, and eggs for home (who knows, it might snow… I do live in PA now… LOL!). So, I’m headed down 22 and am stopped at a light at Mountain Road, when… You might have guessed it… Wham! Rear-ended. Everyone’s fine, it was only about 10mph or less… but it was a SUV, and it really crumbled my trunk. They had to actually cut the latch so that I could get my milk out… Oy vey!
The blessing in disguise is that I got to talk to the man who hit me. He had a 2 year old in the back seat, and has gone through a rough time this past year. His name is Michael, and I am praying for him. He has a church home, which is good, and good family support, but here I got to have a God-encounter with him. The Lower Paxton Policeman was really cool also. When he was done with our report, he gave a Beanie Baby to the little boy. Hmmm… reminded me of a ministry we once had - Security After Sirens. Imagine that.
I also had a great conversation with they young man at the car rental agency. Who says customer service is dead? Got to share some spiritual things with Anthony as well. Great guy!
Maybe you’ve had or will have some Christmas surprises. Some will simply be awesome and fun. Some… perhaps less so, but look for Jesus in the midst of them. The shepherds were out doing their thing… when they found themselves with an appointment with the God of the Universe. Maybe God has something cool like that in mind for you. Are you looking for it?
As I write this, John is preparing himself for tonight’s service and message. I love Christmas Eve Services. And this year I get to sit with my lovely wife. Now there’s a present :-) Though I am taking a week’s vacation (and thus no Musings next week), I will be teaching on Sunday. Our subject will be God’s Peace. I’ve entitled it “Peace, No Matter What”; and it will be based on John 16:33. On January 4th I will be teaching on “The Lord’s Prayer”. Oh… speaking of prayer, don’t forget that on Sunday, January 11th, we will have a special meeting at 2:00pm to present and discuss the recommendations our Focus Teams have come up from the Transformational Church Assessment work. It’s good stuff. We will have a pot-luck dinner for those who will be staying for the meeting right after church.
Have a blessed and Merry Christmas. With all the excitement this week, I didn’t get to do my traditional Christmas letter… but know that I am so very blessed to be your pastor. It’s been a busy, even at times a difficult year; but it’s been a good one too. God is good all the time - And all the time God is good! I love you all!