Whispering Words of Love
It was a number of years ago that a friend asked me to put together a Christmas devotional for her and her coworkers who gathered each month for a Bible Study. I have had the pleasure of sharing this devotional with others as well, including this congregation in the past. Well, I brought it out to use as my own devotional again this year, and so, I thought I would share it once more. So, I invite you to borrow a hymnal from the church and have it close by as you read, so that you can sing or hum to yourselves the hymns that are suggested.
How many of you think that this time of the year is the most peaceful, stress free time of the year? Of course not; it is hectic. With shopping and the visiting of family and friends on top of our already busy lives, we hardly have a moment to catch our breaths, not to mention the fact that we are all under a dead line, December 25th. Do you have all your shopping done?
If it is any consolation, the first Christmas was also a hectic time. The people of Israel were certainly finding it difficult to catch their breaths. Not only did they have to live their lives, but they had to do so under the occupation of the Roman Army. On top of that, a census had been called and all the people were on the roads trying to make it home for that first Christmas. We know it was a busy time because in little ole Bethlehem, Joseph and Mary could not find a place to stay, except to move in with the animals. So, it was a busy time; the people hardly knew which way they were headed. Yet, in the midst of all this hustle and bustle, a most wonderful and amazing thing happened, out in the fields, where only the lonely shepherds could hear, God announced his love to the world.
#265 THE FIRST NOEL
What Good News the shepherds heard that night! The Savior was born into the world. God’s chosen one, God’s Messiah, the very love of God was born in the city of David. The people had been waiting a long, long time for this event. They had heard the prophet’s message that God was going to redeem them. It must have become a daily prayer to them. “Come, Emmanuel!”
#245 O COME, O COME, EMMANUEL
Well, the shepherds were excited. They had an exclusive story. Outside of Joseph and Mary, the shepherds were the only ones in the world that knew what God was doing. And, so, they raced off to Bethlehem to see what the angels had told them. And, when they arrived, they found Mary and Joseph and the baby Jesus wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger. This must have been a remarkable sight for the shepherds. Not the sight of a baby, but to think that this little baby was the Son of God. This little baby, so vulnerable and fragile was going to save the world. The Messiah sure was not coming into the world the way in which the people would have expected.
#281 WHAT CHILD IS THIS?
Have you ever wondered why God chose to do things the way God chose to do them? God sent his Son into the world to save the world. And, you would think that God would have wanted everyone to know what he was up to, that God would have found a way to let everyone know what was happening. But, God did not do things that way. He chose a family of no prestige or popularity. The first people, and only people, God told about this wonderful event, were those shepherds out all alone in the fields. It was almost as if God was whispering his activity into the world.
#253 SILENT NIGHT
On that first Christmas night, God was whispering to the world. Like the still small voice through which God spoke to Elijah, God was now whispering his words of love to the world through the birth of his Son. I believe that God deliberately chose to do things this way. God chose not to yell over the hustle and bustle of our lives. For as we all know, loud messages do not always get our attention, because life is already noisy. And, we have a way of keeping right on going through our noisy lives. However, it is the quiet messages that force us to slow down, to stop, to listen to what is being said. Denise is a teacher and one of the things that she used to do when her class was getting too loud, was that instead of getting louder herself, she would begin talking in a whisper. Soon some of the children would begin to notice that she was talking but they could not hear her. So they would begin to shush one another until the whole room was quiet and then they could hear. I believe that on Christmas, God spoke in a whisper so that we would be forced to quiet down our lives, to stop, to listen, in order to hear that blessed news that God’s love was born into the world.
#250 O LITTLE TOWN OF BETHLEHEM
I would like to invite you all this Christmas season to listen for God’s whispering voice. For, God is still whispering his words of love to us. So, sometime this Christmas season, stop and find a comfortable spot. Sit or lie down. Take a long deep breath. Close your eyes and in your mind go to that manger of our Lord Jesus. For, at the manger it is quiet and still. And it is there that you will hear those whispering words of love.
#262 AWAY IN A MANGER
May this Christmas season be filled with many of God’s blessings in your life, but most of all may you hear that still small voice, whispering words of love on Christmas Day.
#249 O COME ALL YE FAITHFUL