Advent is first of all a journey.

We start wherever we are in late November, and by December 25 we end up in Bethlehem.

When the shepherds heard the angels announce that Christ had been born, they said, “Let’s go straight to Bethlehem” (Luke 2:15 HCSB). I like the way that sounds.

“Let’s go.” I’m going, and you’re going, so let’s go together. During the Advent season, Christians of all backgrounds and denominations, from every tribe and tongue, young and old, male and female, rich and poor, all join together to make this journey.

“Straight.” No messing around. No detours. No excuses. “We’re on our way to see the Savior.”

“To Bethlehem.” To the “House of Bread” where the Living Bread has come down from heaven. We’re coming hungry and thirsty because our journey is long, and we are tired. We’re coming to worship the Babe in the manger.

It’s good to be in a hurry if you are excited about something that really matters. Nothing in all the world matters more than the birth of Jesus.

That’s what Christmas is all about.

When the shepherds heard the news, they went to Bethlehem to check it out for themselves. Luke 2:17 tells us what happened next: “When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child.” On that night in Bethlehem, outside of Joseph and Mary, the shepherds were the only people who knew Christ had been born.

It wasn’t a likely way to win the world. Certainly not the way we would have done it. If we had planned it, Jesus would have been born in Jerusalem, to a wealthy family, attended by the high and mighty. That way, no one would doubt the Son of God had come to earth. But God’s ways and ours are not the same. He chose to reveal the news to the shepherds first of all. After their initial (and understandable) fear, they responded in faith. They believed the angel, they immediately went to Bethlehem, and they found the baby Jesus. Everything was just as the angel said it would be.

I wonder if we would have been as obedient. Would we have believed? Would we have gone to Bethlehem in the middle of the night? Would we have been as quick to tell the story?

Good news is for sharing.
God worked a miracle at Bethlehem.
Don’t keep it to yourself.

Lord, keep us watching and waiting for you. Give us the “shepherd spirit” to go quickly to Bethlehem and then tell the world Christ has come. Amen.

Musical bonus: I love this version of Do You Hear What I Hear? by Mercy Me. You can find it on their album called “It’s Christmas!”

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