Some people thrive on the unexpected. Others tend to be more comfortable within the realm of the known and the routine. I am someone that would fall into that latter category. It’s not that I am against surprises or unexpected occurrences, but I don’t necessarily go out of my way to seek them out. Often times, they find me.
Christmas is a time for the unexpected. If you put up a real tree in your house, each year you go and find one at a tree farm, the hardware store, or Costco and there is a certain unknown as to what it will look like and how it will fill out the room. There are gifts wrapped and placed under the tree that hold a sense of mystery to them. What could be inside? And then there is an annual tradition that I like to do with my family: drive around and look at Christmas lights. It’s always an adventure and you never know what might lie around the next corner or down the next block. You could round the bend and be greeted by the most amazing light display ever! All the flashing and glowing and brightness that illuminates the dark night.
There is a famous Christmas scene that sticks out in my mind in regard to the unexpectedness of the season and it happened at the very first Christmas. As the story goes in Luke 2, there were shepherds that were watching over their sheep. This overnight job was not glamorous, but the routine was probably familiar. The quiet hills were known, landmarks remembered, what would happen during those midnight hours was expected. Perhaps they were feeling tired, some maybe even nodded off. The faint light of the moon and stars set the stage for what would be another normal night.
But then the unexpected happened! Bright light burst through the clouds, sound and noise came crashing into their ears throttling them awake. Countless angels filled the sky and their voices seemed to echo off the walls of the valley. I would guess that the shepherds didn’t see this coming! This was not how things normally go! And yet God moves in the unexpected. He enters the scene and delivers Good News that might be unexpected but is greatly needed.
The angels were sent to deliver a message, to sing out in praise, to announce the birth of God’s Son. This was a long time coming. It was like all of heaven could no longer contain the excitement and sang for all it was worth. And so, with the angelic assembly we sing and give glory to the King; the One who came to save us from sin, the One who came to bring us peace with God, the One who would live so that we would no longer die.
The bright light of the angels broke through the night sky to point to the Everlasting Light that would chase away the darkness of sin in our lives. The shepherds saw, heard, and witnessed the majesty of this song. They were captivated by the magnitude of what they angels had said, and we read that they hurried off to find this Promised One. And when they arrived, all they could do was worship. The only response that even seemed adequate was to worship. Let us again be brought to a place of worship this Advent season as we contemplate the Christ Child and the significance of the gift and hope we have today because of His arrival.
Pastor Ben Bigaouette