I woke up this morning and Ansley as staring right in my face asking me to get up and watch a movie. We recently borrowed a bunch of cartoon dvds from some friends, so we picked up a collection of mickey mouse christmas movies. The first one we watched didn’t even have mickey in it. It was called “The Small One” and was about a young boy who was forced to sell his aging donkey, with whom he had been best friends. The boy headed into Jerusalem and was unwilling to sell the donkey to most people because he wanted “Small One” to go to a good home.
Finally, Joseph showed up declaring that he needed a nice little donkey to carry his wife who was with child.
It was a pretty cute little cartoon and afterwards we watched classics like “Mickey’s Chrismas Carol” which put me in the Christmas frame of mind. Of course, now that I’ve started reading in Luke, my quiet time today just happened to be the 2nd chapter of Luke so I got a double-dose of yuletide spirit on this warm September day.
I think of the shepherds reaction, “Let’s go straight to Bethlehem and see what has happened.” (verse 15). Do you think that would be our reaction today? If it happened today, or on one of your regular days, do you think you would actually pack the family in the car and travel to Salt Lake City to see the baby? I think it depends on our circumstances. If our current state of affairs is so good that we don’t think about our need for God on a regular basis, then I can imagine that a lot of us wouldn’t care to go…at least not right away. Maybe we’ll make a family outing of it this weekend.
I wish I could understand the general state of mind of a Jewish shepherd in those days. I would bet that for all the happiness that they may have had, they lacked one thing…hope. I can’t imagine it. I live every day knowing that no matter how bad it gets, this whole life is but a vapor and I have not yet become who I am truly destined to be. No matter what happens, to me or my family, I will see them and Jesus forever in a perfectly eternal life.
I don’t know that the shepherds had that luxury. I believe that when you tend sheep you end up spending a lot of lonely nights looking up at the stars with nothing to do but ponder your existence and wonder what will happen. I think the whole lot of them said “We’ve been sitting up here on this hill with no company but our own misery for too long. There’s a baby in Bethlehem right now, and that angel that was just here said that this baby is the Messiah. Must be some baby, so I’ve gotta see this!”
Jesus reveals himself to us in ways we don’t expect when we need him the most. He reveals himself to me through his word and meditating on it through life’s struggles. I hear about how he is working and changing the lives of the people around me, and I have to look to see it for myself, not for proof, but for the hope that comes from seeing Christ.