- Baptist Beacon
by Mick Schatz
ROSCOMMON, MI – Greetings from Bambi Lake Retreat and Conference Center and Merry Christmas! As I am writing this, the snow is lightly falling and there is a quiet hush and calm over all the camp. I imagine it is much like the night (no snow, of course) the shepherds were gathered around a fire, swapping sheep herding stories, and keeping watch over the sheep. This is one of my favorite scenes in the Christmas story.
The gospel of Luke records it like this – “In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. But 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; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:8-11.
Now I don’t know about you, but I have been in a field at night when all you can see and hear Is the fire and the wood cracklin’ and every sensory receptor in your body is on full alert. If an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared before me, I’m sure I would have lost full control of my faculties and died right on the spot. At best I would have “freaked out” like the shepherds and been paralyzed in fear. Wow! What an entrance! However, Imagine the relief when this glorious angel said, “Do not be afraid; for behold I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people…”.
I love the fact that God the Father chose lowly shepherds to be the first hearers of this Heavenly announcement. This message of hope was not restricted to the religious elite, socially favored, or financially secure. It did not single out only those who dressed to impress or looked the prettiest. This clarion call did not resound for those of a particular ethnicity, skin color, privileged background, or ancestry. THE GOOD NEWS AND GREAT JOY OF JESUS CHRIST WAS ANNOUNCED FOR ALL PEOPLE! HE WHO IS EVERYTHING CAME FOR EVERYONE!
All people have been invited to join in and celebrate Christmas. Right from the beginning of our Savior’s life here on earth, we witness the banner of love for all being heralded across the sky. We hear the heart of a loving heavenly Father calling out to His creation declaring a provision of hope and redemption through His son, Jesus.
As Christians we bear the responsibility of continuously declaring this Good News and Great Joy. In a world full of selfishness, fear, confusion, and sadness we have Good News and Joy to bring to those around us. In a culture filled with noise and hopeless messages, the Gospel is the only announcement loud and powerful enough to stop people in their tracks and captivate their hearts and minds with a love and joy that changes everything. Celebrate Christmas by sharing the Good News and Great Joy of Jesus Christ!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mick Schatz serves on the staff of the Baptist State Convention of Michigan. He is the State Director of Spiritual Enrichment and Retreats and lives at Bambi Lake.