In Psalm 119:105 we read “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” As a shepherd guides the sheep, the scriptures guide you and me. A lot of gifts will be unwrapped on Christmas. In 1983 the big gift was The Cabbage Patch Kid. (100 million were sold) In 1996 it was Tickle Me Elmo. In 2005 it was Xbox 360. In 2016 it was Hatchimals. Some toys come out of the box ready to go but other things need to be put together. This week people will be trying to assemble things. They will be better off if they read the directions.
We’re better off if we read the directions for life and follow God’s word. We’ll find the path Jesus has prepared for us if we do. Sometimes when I’m in another city I will miss a turn, even though my wife’s phone is talking to me, and telling me what to do. The great thing about that phone is that it keeps talking to me and guides me from the place I’m at – not the place I should be. God’s word is like that. God’s word takes you from where you are to the place God wants you to be.
When we read Luke 2:8-18 we see that the shepherds didn’t miss a turn:
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.
So the shepherds found the baby Jesus in the manger because God spoke His word through the angel. They followed it! God kept his word with the shepherds. They knew that Jesus was the Messiah so they told others. What Israel had been looking for – for hundreds and hundreds of years had arrived that amazing night.
In 2009, Paula Stanton was given a ring by her husband Michael to celebrate their twentieth anniversary, but it slipped off her fingers and she was left to conclude it had been accidentally flushed down the toilet. “It had been a little big on my finger, because it was winter time and my hands were smaller,” Stanton said. “I felt so bad about it. Sad and embarrassed.”
So distraught was she that three years later, when the public works department was doing some work on the sewer line, she alerted one of their workers to the possibility that her ring might be somewhere in the piping.
Public employee Ted Gogol had previously heard about the ring, and just happened to be doing some recent maintenance work by the Stanton house when he saw something glittery in the mud next to a manhole cover. Gogol reached out to Paula Stanton, and after a boiling treatment of lemon juice and peroxide, the ring is back on her finger where it belongs. “People say around this time of year crazy things happen,” Gogol said, “She said it was her Christmas miracle.”
The real miracle of Christmas was the coming of Jesus. Have you found Him?
Pastor Ken Atchison
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com.