Parkland First Baptist Church
- Adore Him VideoGlad you are here on Zoom rather than in person.This has been a crazy year, Good Friday was by Zoom also.Christmas wonderingPosted on December 8, 2020 by Joe McKeever“In the same region, shepherds were staying out in the fields and keeping watch at night over their flock. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord stood before them….” (Luke 2:8ff.)I wonder a lot about that first Christmas.I wonder about the shepherds Luke told us about, the men tending their sheep throughout the night in the field outside Bethlehem.What a magical moment this must have been for them. I wonder what that was like.–I wonder what they were talking about in the few minutes prior to the angels’ visit. Did they have a fire going? Were they talking or dozing or joshing with one another? Were they friends or even brothers?–And when the Angel of the Lord arrived and filled the sky with Heaven’s glory, I wonder if anyone else could have seen what they saw and heard what they heard. Could someone in an adjoining field have been dazzled by that same display? Or would it have been dark over there and they would have seen nothing?I am almost willing to bet they would not have seen a thing, that the angelic host that evening was sent to the shepherds and for no other eyes. Over in Matthew chapter 2, we’re not told of anyone else noticing the wandering star. No one else seemed to have been transfixed by a star that seemed to have a specific direction in mind.So maybe this was just for them.God does not hesitate to send a display of His power and glory for one or two people and leave everyone else in the dark. He does not require a large audience for His works–I wonder what the shepherds first said when the angelic choir disappeared and suddenly the world was thrown into darkness again. Scripture records them saying, “Let us go now even unto Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass.” But you cannot tell me that’s all they said or even the first thing out of their mouths.Surely their first reaction as the angels disappeared was stunned silence. And then, maybe a first- century Aramaic equivalent of “Wow!” “Holy smoke!!” “Can you believe this?” “Did I see what I think I just saw?”–I wonder where Luke got this story. It almost had to be directly from the shepherds themselves, perhaps 40 years after the fact, or from Mary as she remembered it from the shepherds that night in the stable. Or maybe both?–I wonder about those shepherds in succeeding years. As the decades came and went, did they get together at the local coffee shop, wherever retired shepherds congregated to reminisce and pass the time, and talk about that night long ago and raise questions about it? Did they begin to doubt? Did one say, “It’s been thirty years. You’d think we’d have heard something by now.”We’re left to wonder a lot of things.Mostly I wonder how people can center their attention on manmade tales such as Rudolph and Frosty and elves and Grinches when the true story is infinitely more fascinating, more wonderful, and more relevant to our lives. It’s also more historical, more verifiable, and truer than anything else ever. It is Truth.I wonder how people can admire the Lord Jesus and sing the carols and celebrate His birth without wanting to know Him personally and inviting Him into their hearts and lives.I wonder at the way political correctness has taken hold in our world so that people can celebrate anything this time of the year but Jesus, can call the birth day anything they’d like but Christmas, and can throw alcoholic parties and spend themselves into serious debt, all ostensibly in His name when they do not even know Him.I wonder at the way God’s redeemed children seem unconcerned and even aid and abet the perverting of the Advent this way.People sure are crazy. But God loves us anyway. I wonder why.CommunionBecause God loved us, Jesus was born, but with the cross in mind.It started with and tree and ended with a tree.Tree of the knowledge of good and evilCrossTree of Life in heavenWe are told to remember his death, burial and resurrection, not his death.So tonight let’s have a moment for the Lord’s supper.The ThanksgivingBrothers and sisters in Christ, the gospels tell us that on the first day of the week, the day on which our Lord rose from the dead, he appeared to his disciples in the place where they were gathered and was made known to them in the breaking of the bread.Lift up your hearts. us give thanks to the Lord our God. It is right for us to give thanks. It is our joy and our salvation at all times and in all places to give thanks to you, O Lord, holy Father, almighty, everlasting God, through Christ, our Lord. Because the light of your glory has shone with splendor in our world. For you gave Jesus Christ, your only Son, to be born for us of Mary that we might have power to become your children through him: who existed before the world was called into being, but came down to save us by being born of a humble virgin, lying in a crib, walking on earth as a man; who became poor that by his poverty we might become rich; who was humbled that we might be exalted; who gave us peace and joy when we were without hope and without God.The CommunionTake, eat, remember and believe that the body of our Lord Jesus Christ was given for a complete remission of all our sins.Take, drink, remember and believe that the precious blood of our Lord Jesus Christ was shed for a complete remission of all our sins.CandlesThat night the shepherds watched their flocks, God’s glory broke out around them.That signified God’s presence among them.It would be fitting since God the Son was born without the glory for it to appear on earth that night.John tells us, “In him was life, and that life was the light of men. That light shines in the darkness, and yet the darkness did not overcome it.”As Jesus was the light, we who are called by Him are to be lights to the world.So let’s light our candles tonight to show our connection to Him.Take the Light to the World!Silent Night
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