A guest post By: Bruce Nevin Haines
13 And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly army of angels praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace among people with whom He is pleased.” (Luke 6:13-14)
As our culture continues to migrate away from the true meaning of Christmas, I have found it more difficult to focus on the good news that is its true message. I often feel bombarded with the sights and sounds of a Christmas that is devoid of Christ and is instead saturated with cultural and traditional versions that feel spiritually benign. There are many Christmas traditions that I enjoy and participate in without reservation. They have stayed with me and become integrated into my long-running Christmas narrative. But the narrative from today feels different. Busy, loud and emotionally detached
There is a way of “refocusing” that I now use to help drown out all of the commercialism and distraction. I bring to my mind the appearance of the Angels to the lowly shepherds. There is something about the shepherds’ lowly position in their society that is a refreshing contrast to the commercialized/overtly affluent picture that we are shown today. The Angels appeared to the Shepherds to announce the good news. The “Glad tidings of great joy” came to them, not the affluent or influential.
8 In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock at night. 9 And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood near them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. 10 And so the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; 11 for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly army of angels praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among people with whom He is pleased.” 15 When the angels had departed from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying to one another, “Let’s go straight to Bethlehem, then, and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger. Luke 6:8-16)
When I am overwhelmed with the noise and spectacle of Christmas that we see today, I think of the glorious appearance of the angels, that loud and overwhelming host of angels that filled the night sky. When I am bombarded with a busy congested street bustling with shoppers, saturated with benign holiday music overlapping itself until it is a cacophony of sound; I close my eyes and imagine the whole sky opening to a host of angels loudly proclaiming the birth of the Savior of the world. All the noise and activity comes to a halt as it is overrun with a miraculous and beautiful proclamation that is too bright and too big to ignore. That sound, that wonder is bigger than anything this world has to offer. That is bigger than this. The host of angels and their proclamation to us drowns out the noise and chaos that we perceive as the Christmas of this world. And I am so thankful that it does!