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Bells of Christmas

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Luke 2:18-19
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

And the angel said unto them, "Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, 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, "4Glory 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.

The shepherds heard the angels; we hear the bells on Christmas Day. We have morning church steeples singing praises to the sky. They call out "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will to men!"

Jesus, babycheeks red with cold, sleeping in the manger ... what a privilege to be a shepherd at his side today. That occupation may have been looked down upon on other days, but the angels spoke to no one else on the first Christmas Day.

The angels chose the right folks - they listened. They left their work and made their way out of the hills, into the village, to the far reaches of the village, till they thought they might have gone too far. Thinking maybe they didn't hear the angels, maybe they ALL made this up.

Then the inn, the stable, the smoke rising from a fire, and they were there. They knew they were in the right place, the way you know a peaceful home when you walk into it. Rather than being charged with tension, the air settles around you and you relax.

I know Jesus couldn't say the words so soon after his birth, but his presence said it better than words. "Come unto me, all ye who are weary and heavy laden. And I Will Give You Rest."

We sing your praises today, Lord Jesus. You are all in all. Today the earth begins to be reclaimed from Satan. I rest in you.

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