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Monday, December 07, 2009

Misdirected Choir?

Do you have an angel in your nativity set? Take it out. It doesn't belong there.

Oh, okay, there may have been an angel or two at the manger, but did you know the Bible never mentions any? At least, never one at the manger. Where the angels appear is rather out of place when you stop and think about it.

From the Biblical point of view, God has just become man. Jesus has been born and the world is about to meet the Savior. A choir of angels should be present to herald this awesome event, right? We may think so, but either the choir got lost or God had different plans.

You see, the angelic choir, or more accurately the angelic army showed up on a hillside outside of Bethlehem in front of some poor, nameless shepherds. If you know the Christmas story well, you need to stop and think about how strange this is: Jesus, King of kings and Lord of lords is born, and the angels choose to be with...stinky shepherds. The head angel (choir director?) announces, "I bring good news of great joy for everyone! The Savior has been born!" And the choir belts out, "Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to all whom God favors."

We always hear around this time of year that Jesus is the reason for the season. That's actually not true. From God's point of view, at least, the reason for the season is YOU. When Jesus was born, God sent his angels not to worship Jesus, but to ordinary people like you and me. He wanted to make sure we knew that this moment was for us- good news of great joy.

Too often we think of worship as giving God his due- "Well, He is God so I guess I should do what He says. I guess I should go to church." Yet here at Christmas, God calls the shepherds to worship because of what He has done. I think you and I are given full permission to do the same.

On your journey, may you here God's angels sing over you- this is good news of great joy for everyone- including you. Live in the joy.