Jesus’s Arrival: It Was Just As They Had Been Told.

The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told. Luke 2:20

Not sure when I came to believe it was wrong to reference traditional Christmas scriptures when it wasn’t Christmas. So, here’s to breaking free from my own rule.

(For the record, I am aware Halloween is tomorrow, but very little about it inspires me, aside from the anticipation of purchasing a good bit of discounted chocolate candy the following day.)

It’s the closing of my favorite restaurant in town and the shepherds’ experience recorded in Luke 2 as these each relate to 2020 that’s snagged my heart this week…

When I drove past the restaurant with the supreme “all you can eat” salad bar boasting savory pumpernickel croutons, I was horrified to find its dark, lifeless and smudged windows staring back.

Suffering from the ravages of a pandemic, the place had gone out of business, its once tailored and vibrant shrubbery now overgrown and colorless.

The good news is, a friend told me this was true before I laid eyes on it. Otherwise, the vision would have crushed me.

This encounter mimics much of what we’ve experienced in our hearts and minds this year. A year to suggest perfect vision, and yet many of us have been unable to see clearly through the guise of untruth and change and division.

The irony isn’t lost on me.

What we’ve been told is no longer true. What we’ve enjoyed and anticipate has been cancelled. The people and circumstances in which we’ve placed our trust are no longer trustworthy.

2020 has me clinging—more so than ever—to that which is constant and good.

That which won’t go out of business or fail to provide for my needs.

That which is reliable and immutable and true.

That which is born of God.

His word.

Learning of the unexpected closing of my favorite restaurant led me to ponder the shepherds response to the birth of Jesus. In glorious splendor, the announcement of baby Jesus’s arrival came to these lowly men at night while they kept watch over their flocks.

Years prior, the prophecy had been given:

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6 (NIV)

And in perfect timing, God fulfilled that which he said would occur. Salvation for the people had been foretold and salvation for the people had arrived.

When the angel of the Lord appeared and brought the good news, the shepherds didn’t harumph, “We’ll believe it when we see it.”

In confidence, the shepherds traveled to see that which they were told would be there.

Even if the shepherds doubted or guffawed at the holy announcement, it wouldn’t negate the reality of the savior’s arrival, but they’d have missed being witnesses to the momentous event in history.

God—the promised Savior—had come to earth.

Just as they had been told.

Baby Jesus was born in the town of David.

Just as they had been told.

Baby Jesus was wrapped in cloths.

Just as they had been told.

Baby Jesus was laying in a manger.

Just as they had been told.

Everything was…just as they had been told.

When they returned from Bethlehem, they glorified and praised God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were “just as they had been told.” (vs 20)

In all things, isn’t it utterly reassuring to know God is faithful to his word? Because unlike people and favorite restaurants, God and his word are always trustworthy, his love unfailing.

And he’s always open for business.

Mary

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