Let Us Go Now

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Luke 2:13-16

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger.

I ask myself on this Christmas Eve: what if the shepherds had waited? What if they had not acted “with haste” on their experience with angels?

I can see them talking each other out of it for any number of reasons! Because they felt their shepherding jobs came first  … because they would feel more comfortable traveling in daylight … because they were put off by the idea of meeting strangers … because they thought they had more time.

What difference might just 24 hours have made?  A room in the inn, or other accommodations, might have opened up by morning and they would find Jesus had not stayed predictably rooted to that one spot and the manger had returned to being a food bin again.

By acting “with haste” to know the truth of what they had been told by angels, they witnessed God’s love and glory in human forms. They experienced the truth of what they had been told — and how great was their joy!

Later that same Jesus would tell us the Spirit of God, like the wind, “blows where It wills” (John 3:8). Encounters with the Spirit infuse our lives on this beautiful Earth still today in prayer and reading of Scripture and in music and in the loving, fiercely witnessing lives of others. In those moments it is always our loss when we don’t act immediately to know the truth of what we are being told.

Guilford Park Presbyterian will offer this year a Watchnight opportunity for quiet personal prayer, Scripture and music, on New Year’s Eve at 6:00 p.m.  Let us gather together, not in a field as those long-ago shepherds did but in our own beloved sanctuary! Let us bring our lives, flocks, friendships, joys, fears and searching hearts together, to listen for what God would make known to us if we will fear not and behold.

– Ellen Weiner

Prayer

God of wonder, Spirit of light, elder brother Jesus with royal beauty bright! Still leading, still proceeding, guide us at Guilford Park individually and
together to Your perfect light!
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