The shepherds were amazed at the angels in the sky. The three wise men read about him in a book and were curious. Herod was unwilling to give up his power. The innkeeper didn’t have room for him. Elizabeth was overjoyed while John in her womb was excited. Zechariah laughed in disbelief that his son should prepare the way. Joseph was fearful, duty bound, and humbled. Mary was obedient.
It is amazing to me how each one had a different reaction to the news of the coming messiah. And each, in their moment of encounter, made a choice to believe and accept or scoff in disbelief. The shepherds found the manger and knelt before their king. The wise men followed the star and presented their gifts to the king. Herod tried to manipulate the three kings into telling him where the child was so he could kill him. The innkeeper treated them as vagabonds and sent them to where the animals slept. Elizabeth was overcome with joy when she saw Mary while her husband laughed and was muted for his unbelief. Their son John leapt with excitement when his mother and Mary embraced. Joseph was afraid but comforted by the angel and Mary was obedient from day one.
We are so like them. We each have our own encounter with the Almighty and we each make a choice. We are all confronted with truth and decide whether to accept it or reject it. Some of us are just curious and want to see what it is all about and others become angry and are unwilling to give up control. Some of us have read all of the books and know all of the promises and have an intellectual understanding of the Good Lord but will not truly give in till we see him with our own eyes. There are others who meet him and then brush him aside…we just don’t have the time or room for him in our lives right now. Some of us laugh and scoff that the Good Lord would do things in such strange and impossible ways and are quickly silenced when we realize the truth. There are many who are fearful and doubt but follow anyway because the truth leaves no other choice. Some cannot contain their joy and would swing from the chandeliers if they could reach them and then there are others that are quietly obedient, fully accepting the responsibility and honor of knowing the King. Often our spirits are quickened even before we meet him.
We have all been each of these people at one time or another. I know I have leapt for joy in one moment and then scoffed in disbelief in another. I have been obedient and then refused to give up control. I have read many books, given in to fears, ignored the obvious, and even seen an angel. I’m sure many of you know what I’m talking about and would have your own stories of encounter. We all, like sheep, have gone astray and Christmas is a time for coming home…from wherever you’ve been. It is a time for accepting the impossible: a gift wrapped in swaddling clothes and placed in a manger offering salvation for all who would believe. It’s your choice, what are you going to do?