DAY 16 |

THE WORSHIP AND PROCLAMATION OF CHRIST

Scripture Reading: Luke 2:8-20

In the same region, shepherds were staying out in the fields and keeping watch at night over their flock. 9 Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid, for look, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people: 11 Today in the city of David a Savior was born for you, who is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be the sign for you: You will find a baby wrapped tightly in cloth and lying in a manger.”
13 Suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying:
14 Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to people he favors!
15 When the angels had left them and returned to heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go straight to Bethlehem and see what has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.”
16 They hurried off and found both Mary and Joseph, and the baby who was lying in the manger. 17 After seeing them, they reported the message they were told about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary was treasuring up all these things in her heart and meditating on them. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had seen and heard, which were just as they had been told.
— Luke 2:8-20
“Chaos: an advent poem”


In the beginning,
before there was anything,
God’s building block—from which he would make the entire universe—was…

Nothing.

Out of the Void
The Abyss
The Emptiness
The Nothing
God makes
EVERYTHING.

His other building block?

Chaos.

The Bible says God hovered over the chaos—over the disorder, the darkness, the confusion—and out of that makes the universe.

Out of chaos, he makes…

…the butterfly

…tomatoes growing on vines

…sun, moon and a thousand stars—all turning, wheeling, orbiting together in a delicate dance.

This is not the clash of violent forces
making the world by chance.
This is an artist
creating his masterpiece.

Not because he has to.
But because he wants to.

For the sheer joy of it.

Doing what he loves to do.
Working with his favorite materials—
nothing
and
chaos.

Filling the emptiness.
Lighting the dark.
Turning chaos to Joy.

But sin lives in our hearts, unleashing chaos once more, working backwards—unraveling God’s beautiful creation, breaking his perfect world, un-creating everything: turning life to death, joy to sadness, hope to despair, light to darkness, order to chaos.

But God would once again turn chaos to Joy.

This time not hovering over the chaos.
But entering into it.
Taking the chaos into his own heart.
Mending his broken world
And in mending it
Die.

For, one night, long ago in Bethlehem,
Into the chaos of homelessness and poverty
Into the chaos of breaking hearts
Into the chaos of darkness and hate and tears and sickness and dying…

A Light.

A Word.

A Child.
— Written by Sally Lloyd-Jones

The parallels of wonder and amazement

I wonder what that night would have been like to stand with the shepherds under the stars keeping watch over sheep. In one moment, unexpectedly, their lives and our world were forever changed. An angel appeared to them and proclaimed the good news about a savior who would come, and a multitude of angels began to worship Jesus.

It is amazing how quickly things can change. After hundreds of years of waiting, a group of shepherds found out that the moment was here. Jesus was born. Hope had entered the world, and the angel proclaimed “good news of great joy that will be for all people.”

I also wonder what it would have been like to stand over Jesus swaddled in a manger. After hearing the message from the angel, the shepherds went to see this Savior for themselves. Can you imagine the joy they felt as they looked at the face of Christ?

It is amazing that we can feel that joy today! The same good news that was proclaimed two thousand years ago in Bethlehem is our same good news today. The angels worshipped Christ singing, “Glory to God in the highest heaven” and they are still singing today. The world needed a savior to rescue them from their sin and the world still needs that savior today.

I wonder what it was like when the shepherds returned home, “glorifying and praising God for all the things they had seen and heard.” Did people think they were crazy? Did some begin to listen and learn? Did some join their praises?

It is amazing to think a baby who laid in a manger in Bethlehem would change the world.

I wonder what it was like for the shepherds to know that God was pointing them to this good news; that he loved them and wanted them to know Jesus.

It is amazing that He feels the same way about you and I today.

 

Reflection Questions:

1.     What do you think it would have been like to hear the angels sing with the shepherds?

2.     Why was the birth of Jesus such great news?

 

Advent Activity: Telephone your Proclamation!

Play a game of Telephone as a family. Sit around a table, or in a circle. Start with one person whispering a message and see if the message makes it around the circle with no words changed. Picture yourselves as the group of shepherds. What would your message of proclamation and worship be after seeing Jesus born?