I love the Christmas Story. Its such a testament to the Incarnation. Thats our big church word meaning God with us. That God chose to come to earth to save us--to be part of us.
This is the beginning of 33 years that changed the world. God broke into the world. Living for us, loving us. What beauty and splendor came from the dirt. Just like at creation, God created out of the dirt! What a lovely picture. The first evangelists were the shepherds.
Did you know why Bethlehem was important to Israel? Well, lets start in the beginning. Bethlehem was the city where David was born. Remember, David was a shepherd. Why would a town that was a suburb of Jerusalem be full of shepherds?
That's right, to raise sheep for the temples. Remember, the sheep had to be perfect. So Bethlehem shepherds were special. They only raised special sheep. Perfect sheep. They were the ones that would go to the temple for slaughter.
And who announced Jesus' birth? The one who would be the last lamb lead to slaughter? The Shepherds.
God prophesized the truth from the beginning. Just as it was to be. There were signs and mile markers. They should have known. I love yelling at scripture like I like yelling at the TV. Mary--look out! He's going to die! Look out Herod is after you! Look out!
But she never hears me. Do you hear God? When God is yelling out to you--WATCH OUT! Be careful! Don't go that way? When the signs are all there?
Maybe tonight its time we open our ears to the signs. The signs of angels and tiny whispers. Maybe tonight its time to pray for direction and guidance.
God, open my hears, so I may hear. The Hallelujahs and the Look Outs!