Seeing the Face of God!
Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
The story begins with the angels. A complicated story is often aided by the addition of a narrator. For the greatest story ever told, we are led through the details by the angels. Gabriel spoke to Zechariah and shared the news of his child. A few months later, Gabriel appears to Mary and tells her that she is highly favored. We are drawn to light. When a bright light appears, our focus immediately shifts in that direction. In the darkness, the angels provide great light. Once the story is brought to light by the major players, the next job of the angels is to lead others into the story. What happens when you turn on the lights on a bright sunny day? Do you see the glow or do they fade into the background? Perhaps the Pharisees were consumed by the brightness of material things that the light of the Messiah was not evident to them. The angels appeared to light up the darkness among the lowly shepherds in the fields. Come and see!
While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks by Night
My brothers and I were still trembling. We wondered what this good news, which the angel of the Lord had spoken of, could possibly be. And then we heard the most wondrous news ever proclaimed. “For there is born to you today”, the angel said, “in David’s city, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” We stood silent.
Our hearts leaped within us. Did we dare believe our own ears? Had the angel truly said that the Messiah had been born? The One whom our forefathers had waited ages for? Then the angel of the Lord continued. “ “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.””
And then, just as suddenly as the first angel had appeared, there was a multitude of the heavenly army praising God, and saying (loudly), “Glory to God in the highest, on earth peace, goodwill toward men.” (Quietly and slightly confused) And then… they were gone.
I am a humble shepherd: My Lord has shown me great favor. And for the rest of my days, I will tell the world about the events that happened here last night. (Humbly) I, a mere shepherd, have been visited by heavenly angels. I have met the father and the mother of my Lord.
And yes, (lowers his head and whispers) I have seen the face of God. Glory to God in the highest.
Infant Holy, Infant Lowly
What a day it has been! Thanks to this census, my inn is filled to the max. I have prepared the rooms, cooked meals, and listened to the complaints of those for whom I have no more space. Boy, I am ready to go to bed. Let me just finish putting out the lights. What? Is that another knock? Maybe I should just ignore it. Okay! I’m coming. When I get to the door, I see this poor couple. The woman is expecting a baby. I don’t want to turn them away, but what can I do? There are no more rooms! Out of desperation, I offer them a space in my barn which they graciously accept. I’ll go check on them later. How could I have known that the Messiah is about to be born in my barn?
Joseph: Joseph dearest, Joseph mine,
help me cradle the child divine;
God reward thee and all that’s thine in paradise,
so prays the mother Mary.
lo, he comes, and loves, and saves, and frees us!
I know that God is protecting us, but this journey to Bethlehem is just too much for us to bear. Mary is due to deliver any moment and we must journey on. I will trust you, God. We finally arrive and find nowhere for us to rest. Finally, an innkeeper allows us a space in his barn. I’ll find something better in the morning.
I am finally able to rest for a bit. Wow! I am so tired. This long unexpected journey and now I find that we will spend the night among the animals in this barn. Oh my! It’s all good! All is well! God is with me! It seems like it was just yesterday when the angel appeared. I remember saying: I am the Lord’s servant, “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Can I really do what I promised? I know with you by my side, I will give to You all that I have!
Mary: Mary Did You Know
Mary, did you know that your baby boy will one day walk on water? Mary, did you know that your baby boy Will save our sons and daughters? Did you know that your baby boy Has come to make you new; This Child that you delivered Will soon deliver you?
Mary, did you know that your baby boy Will give sight to a blind man? Mary, did you know that your baby boy will calm a storm with His hand? Did you know that your baby boy Has walked where angels trod, And when you kiss your little baby You’ve kissed the face of God?
The blind will see, the deaf will hear, The dead will live again, The lame will leap, the dumb will speak The praises of the Lamb!
Mary, did you know that your baby boy Is Lord all creation? Mary, did you know that your baby boy Will one day rule the nations? Did you know that your baby boy Was Heaven’s perfect Lamb, And the sleeping Child you’re holding Is the great, the Great I AM? Oh, Mary, Mary, did you know?
We Three Kings
Looking for signs! I have an interesting job. I study things! One of the things I do is look for signs from God. God has been silent for so long. 400 years! Has God abandoned us? Look at all that is broken. Evil surrounds us.
Tonight my friends and I saw a very bright star. I remember a story that tells us that the star would announce the arrival of the Messiah. This star is so bright and seems to be calling me to follow it. So we gathered some gifts and began our long journey. We traveled by night because that is when the star was visible. Despite the challenges, we journeyed on. I have never traveled this far! Finally, the star came to rest over a small home. This place looks like an ordinary home. I wondered what we will find inside. We have come all this way, so we might as well knock on the door.
The minute we saw the child it was evident that this was no ordinary child. We were staring into the face of God: human, yet divine. God was finished being silent. We knelt down that night. Yes, we kneeled before the baby boy. And each of us laid gifts at his feet. We had to, we couldn’t help it. Four hundred years of silence broken by the cries of the Son of God.
I am the light of the world.
Bethlehem will be waking up soon and the people will be wanting food to fill their hungry stomachs and of course, everyone will be rushing to register for the census. Just look at the lines. Those gathered in each town will be in their own little worlds and what they won’t realize is that a Savior just entered the world. The world will be forever changed. Yes, indeed. What a night. Silent night…
For now, I will sleep while I can because my work is about to begin.
(Pause) The time has come!
What are we seeking this morning? Maybe, like the shepherds or the wise men, or even the innkeeper, we’re looking for something that will define us, something that will remake us, transform us. Some relationship, some hope, and some love that will make us new. Jesus is here and ready to give us everything! My Jesus is here. In the same place, I left Him. Waiting for me. Waiting for my gifts…for my worship. Waiting there to deliver me from my own choices. Never scolding me for my journey when I make wrong turns along the way.
Unconditional Love awaits us.
Jesus, the great I am, the face of God in human form is with us!
Please come and accept your gift!