[PC-USA] 2005-12-16 - While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks by Night

Advent Series 2005, Part 3

What We Can Learn from Christmas Carols

Please note what was going on when the angel arrived on the scene to deliver the message of Christ's birth. What were the shepherds doing? They weren't planning the event (not that there's anything wrong with planning sometimes). They were doing their everyday work. They were fulfilling their calling, going about the work God had given to them, watching their flocks. They were diligently taking care of the sheep God had entrusted to their care.

Also please note that the arrival of the Christ child wasn't an engineered event, not a special service planned to try to get God to visit them. God planned the event and carried it out Himself. There were no preachers slapping people on the heads (and such "wonders" have sometimes proven to be fake anyway, with ministers tipped off to people's ailments by "spies" with hidden microphones). We all receive the Holy Spirit through salvation, and the Holy Spirit's moves can't be planned by men. At the birth of Christ, the signs and wonders were real - and were instigated by GOD Himself.

So what do we need to take with us from that lovely carol? We need to, as the 12-year old Jesus said, "be about our Father's business." We need to be doing what God has for us to do, and doing it faithfully. And we need to realize we can't control God or the Holy Spirit, and His coming into our lives. First of all, He is already everywhere, so He is always present with us, even if we can't feel Him. We can ask Him to draw us closer to Him. But we can't manipulate His moves with a special service or with our behavior. We can control a lot of things, but we can't control our Lord. And though we may not feel that way at the time, that fact is for our good. For as His word says, His ways are higher than ours.

If you are facing a deep hurt or disappointment this Christmas season, remember that God is in control and though it may not feel like it right now, that is a good thing.

Comments or Questions?
Jan

[email jan] cfdevcfpray@hughes.net
http://www.cfdevotionals.org

While Shepherds Watched Their
  Flocks by Night

George Handel / Nahum Tate

While shepherds watched their flocks by night,
All seated on the ground,
The angel of the Lord came down,
And glory shone around,
And glory shone around.

"Fear not!" said he, for mighty dread
Had seized their troubled mind.
"Glad tidings of great joy I bring
To you and all mankind
To you and all mankind.

"To you, in David's town, this day
Is born of David's line
A Savior, who is Christ the Lord,
And this shall be the sign,
And this shall be the sign.

"The heavenly Babe you there shall find
To human view displayed,
All meanly wrapped in swathing bands,
And in a manger laid,
And in a manger laid."

Thus spake the seraph and forthwith
Appeared a shining throng
Of angels praising God on high,
Who thus addressed their song,
Who thus addressed their song:

"All glory be to God on high,
And to the Earth be peace;
Good will henceforth from heaven to men
Begin and never cease,
Begin and never cease!"