“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”
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.