Luke 2:20 “And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.”
Paul Harvey was a very much listened to radio personality. His unique voice and style made him an icon for decades. His views were decidedly conservative and Christian. The content of his broadcasts made one think deeply on meaning and principle. He was patriotic, for the family, and for the home.
One particular broadcast that captured your attention was a small story based program called “The Rest of the Story”. Paul Harvey would weave a tale leaving out one particular detail and conclude by wonderfully tying all story lines all together.
On this Eve of the day set aside to celebrate the birth of the Christ child, many will begin today with services in their houses of worship. They will hear messages and watch children act out the Christmas story. They may hear different viewpoints of those involved in the retelling – Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, the wise men, Herod and others.
As we sit and listen, what, exactly, will you get out of it? Many will hear a voice saying, “We’ve heard this all before…” and tune it out opting for thoughts of food, family and fun. Others will see someone they haven’t seen in a while and be taken away with thoughts of where they’ve been or what they will say to start a conversation or… again – distracted from the truth being told.
Satan does not use major roadblocks and horrific scenes to distract us from obtaining meaning and hearing the truth, he works so subtly and behind the scenes that unless you are watching for the fiery darts, they will strike at the most opportune times to distract us from the truth.
That couple talking in the next aisle over; the old man, with his eyes closed, chin on his chest and almost in REM sleep; the misbehaving child and the parents who seem oblivious to what their child is doing. Thousands more examples exist because our enemy will use any and all things available in his arsenal.
And then, as we leave, it is as if we check our mind at the door. The thought of what we heard, it’s significance and the command we have been given by our Lord to tell others what WE have seen and heard is left in the church parking lot somewhere.
Those shepherds that day thought the message they heard was significant enough to leave their livelihood; their flocks, to go and see what this miraculous appearing of angels meant. Simply, they obeyed.
If you are like me, during services, we hold the full and complete Word of God in our hands. The very words contained within have been penned by holy men of God who heard and obeyed and wrote exactly as they were told.
2 Peter 1:21 “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”
So many of us have heard. We have been discipled. Some of us have sat through countless sermons, conferences, Sunday school lessons and chapels. Others have studied out truths from the Bible and know much and could expound the truth on many topics in many ways.
We have much in the way of knowledge – but to what end? What fruit will we show for what we know? The shepherds told all what they had seen and heard. How do I know? News spread throughout the realm that it reached the kings ears and when the wise men came through two years later, he sought to kill this rival King.
If you are saved today, a miraculous event occurred in your life as well as mine. Notable miracles aren’t told much these days or widely spread unless it is some weeping statue or face of Jesus in a piece of toast. The reality is – we have been given a charge to go and tell. And what better opportunity than when family gathers in these next two days.
The testimony of your salvation and mine IS the rest of the story.
It is a story that needs retelling again and again. We should never tire of relaying the story of a changed life; the transforming power that met a sinful heart that day and made us a child of God.
God help us to be bold in the face of the fear of rejection, anger and indifference. May we love those closest to us enough to pray and prepare to speak up – even when it is uncomfortable. Jesus did for us that which we could not. May we love our families enough to do the same!
Have a Very Merry and Blessed Christmas!