Yes, 'tis the season at last! Yesterday began Advent, Friday kicked off the shopping season, and today the decorations go up. You're kidding on that last one right? Everyone but me must have the decorating done by now. It's true; I got the decorations out and hauled into work, but it looks a lot like a stack of boxes right now. There's not a lot of Christmas cheer in looking at a pile of cardboard containers. There is a great temptation to get caught up in the surface of the season and perhaps forget that it is Christmas.
Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. (Luke 2:8)
We know from many years of hearing these few words that something big is about to happen. But, let us not miss that these shepherds were going about their daily work, the flocks of sheep bedded down for the night. In most ways, these shepherds were completely unprepared for what is about to happen to them. No decorations twinkled in their fields, someone had not announced Advent to them, and shopping had been taken over by herds of people reporting to the census takers in Bethlehem. It is likely that the shepherd's conversation was dominated by the Roman census and the changes and sacrifices required for this thing to take place. So much business going on for government and living, and so much about to change forever!
So very much like us today. Busy, work, toil, some of it fun and other tasks nothing but toil, and yet, could this be the day? Might the Christmas decorating be left half done as the saints of God are called home? It could happen! We do not know the date, but we do know what will be going on when the time comes - just what you and I plan to do this day, work as usual. Much like those shepherds abiding in the field keeping watch over their flocks. "And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying..." (v 13)And suddenly indeed,