Monday, December 22, 2014

Christmas...You are not alone!

The following article was printed in the 2014 edition of The Marion Ledger:

They were completely alone! Their life was common at best. I guess you could say it was not a “Wonderful Life”, but more like a common and ordinary life. A daily routine of care and making provisions for their charges wore on day after day and month after month. There seemed to be no real interest in how they were feeling or even how they were doing on their job. While visible to the eyes of a passerby, they really had lives that were invisible to the same passerby’s heart. There were no invitations to a party, an announcement of a job promotion, or even a simply note of thanks. Some of them probably deemed themselves as victims of an economic and social hierarchy that left them on the outside looking in. They sat among the rocks, in the dirt, and along the hillside. Perhaps in the cool of the evening there was a small fire for warmth, the distant sound of the bleating of a young sheep, and maybe even the tones of a homemade musical instrument. Forgotten and ignored by the rest of the world, they would diligently keep watch for a threat to the herd and consider how to make provisions for a new day. However, for the shepherd there was really nothing but a life of loneliness.

Looking into a black sky dotted by the twinkling of heaven’s stars, there must have been an occasional thought that “There must be more to life than this! Does anyone care? Does anyone even know who I am or where I am?” There was loneliness. It was a deep and dark feeling that no one cared and no one ever would care. The shepherds one by one would sigh to themselves in a state of discouragement and decide it was time to sleep before a new day would begin. Just as they were about to sleep a light exploded in the darkness. They was startled by the brightest light they had ever seen. Not knowing what to do they simply stared at the light in fear. That is when they heard the voice! Could they really be hearing a voice? Maybe they had been on the hillside alone and in the dark too long. It was a voice of God’s messenger saying “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people (Luke 2:10).”

In an instant life as they knew it had all changed! The promised Messiah had come. For the first time they had received an invitation. The greatest announcement in all of creation was theirs to receive. A Savior had come for all people. He was to be called “Emmanuel” which means “God with us.” Never again would they be alone. Their lives were forever changed by Jesus!

This Christmas Jesus can change your life as well. So many people enter the holidays filled with grief and despair. The joy of Christmas on the faces of the crowds and in the hearts of others really reveals the sadness of their own hearts. Deep inside they are alone. It does not have to be that way. This year let me encourage you to make an intentional effort to reach out to, encourage, and minister to someone who needs to experience the love of Jesus through you. Sure, it might cost you something, but you might be the very voice, touch, hug, or kind deed someone needed to see that in Jesus they are not alone!