Bible Reading: Luke 2:10-16
The angel said to them, "Do not be afraid.
I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.
Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.
This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another,
"Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about."
So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.
Helen and I have twice had the opportunity to go to New Zealand where I have relatives, the family of one of the sisters of my grandfather. While we were there, various members of the family, in both the North and the South Islands said to us ‘You must go and see…’ Helen also had a guidebook to all the places used in the filming of the trilogy ‘The Lord of the Rings’ which she said, ‘We must go and see.' We did indeed see some amazing and beautiful places on both trips.
Following other people’s recommendations, we still have places in England and abroad that we feel we must go and see, including the snowdrops and the Bluebells in Coton Manor which we have been unable to visit during the last two springs.
Other people’s recommendations are often the reason we choose to do something that we would not have done otherwise. When the recommendation comes from an angel to a group of shepherds on a lonely hillside, telling them that a Saviour, the Messiah, has been born in Bethlehem, and that they will find him lying in a manger, it is not surprising that they say to one another, ‘Let’s go and see…’
With God there is always more to discover. The shepherds would have been brought up within the teachings of the Jewish faith, the faith of their parents, the faith of their ancestors. But there was more; God was still at work, revealing himself to the world in a new way. The shepherds had a choice, they could hear the news and dismiss it, they could hear the news, believe it and stay on the hillside, or they could hear the news and go and see for themselves.
God is still at work today, not with the fanfare of angels, not again with the birth of a Saviour, but he is at work through the words of life recorded for us in the bible and through the work of his Holy Spirit in the lives of ordinary people today. Together they show us all that there is always more to discover about life, about faith, about eternity… and about God.
We have a choice, like the shepherds. We can remain on our hillside, settled in the faith we have inherited and in our own way of life, or we could choose to ‘Go and see’ what God is doing today and allow him to impact our lives in new ways, as I am sure he did with the shepherds.
Keep me, Lord, from the complacency of my hillside, so that I may continue to go and see the wonders you are revealing through the life of Jesus and through the work of your Holy Spirit.
See him lying on a bed of straw