It occurred to me today that being homebound is advantageous in one respect. The fact that I can no longer attend Christmas parties, family get-togethers, and plays or go shopping among decorations, loud music, and bright red and green lights means that there are fewer distractions. As a result, the true miracle of Christmas is clearer in my mind than it was when I was “having Christmas” as I used to call it.
In Bethlehem so many years ago, people gathered for a mandated census. I imagine the distractions were many. The market was filled with shoppers looking for food after a long journey. Houses were packed with sleepy families trying to find a place to rest among all their packages. The resulting stress led to grumbling and relationship issues.
Outside of the town, shepherds carried little while watching their flocks lie down in their grazing fields. The only sound was the occasional “baa” of a sheep calling to its friend. No one expected a perfect meal or a politically correct conversation. The pressure was low as each shepherd walked slowly to a place of rest among his sheep.
Without distractions, the appearances of angels with a glorious message and a guiding star to the location of the True Gift were readily apparent. The shepherds celebrated Christmas marveling at the birth of their Messiah. A knee bowed before the manger. A hand reached out to touch His forehead. Heartfelt praise was expressed.
I will be a shepherd as I celebrate this Christmas. I will see the guiding star by reading my Bible, and I will praise God for all He has done. No stress required.
… Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign for you; you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.