I hope that you don’t mind that today’s scripture is from the King James’ version of the Bible.
“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.” (Luke 2:11-19)
The King James Version of the Bible is that one that Poppa used when he would read the Christmas story to us on Christmas Eve. Last year, all five of us kids were home for Christmas Eve and Christmas day. It was fun and Poppa did as he always did, he read the Christmas story from his King James’ Bible.
It’s funny, but I am always a little embarrassed at the words “they found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manager.” It seems to me that the shepherds broke into a very private, a very intimate moment in a family’s life and I am embarrassed for them. Here they are, hardworking, out-of-doors type guys. I think our modern equivalent would be our farmers, mechanics, construction workers, fishermen and the like. The guys who have hands that aren’t always well groomed and are never soft. The gents who know about “work clothes” and don’t have to be reminded that they should take off their boots before coming in from the garage. And, these rough and tumble shepherds “came with haste” and found this scene of dad and mom and baby.
My mind wonders if they immediately apologized to Mary for the way that they looked or how noisy their entrance was. (Or, how they smelled.) My heart wonders if they looked at Joseph and silently nodded, indicating “been there, Friend.” But, my soul tells me that they did neither of those things. I believe that they were overwhelmed by the babe in the manger. I think that they realized in a moment that the prophecies they had been taught in “Saturday School” and the word from the heavenly host came together in an instant and that they bowed in worship. They didn’t understand it all; but, they recognized the miraculous when they saw it.
John and I saw the movie, “Exodus: Gods and Kings” last night. The look of the movie was really good (even though it did not portray the real story of Moses – read the book). I enjoyed how the pictures looked real. But, I knew that it wasn’t miraculous. I had absolutely no doubt that the movie was man made and not God created.
This year, I want to have the eyes that the shepherds had that night. I want to see Jesus. I want to recognize Him in the love of others, in the voices over the phone, in the center of my being.
On this Saturday, so close to Christmas, I want to prepare my heart, to gather myself together, and to recognize and draw near to the miracle that is Christ.