Athlete, Carry Christmas with You
Luke 2:20 (NIV)
The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
(When I was a child, my mom had my siblings and me memorize the Christmas story from the Bible and recite it to folks all over our neighborhood. Today’s Scripture is the last verse of that story.)
Just like a last ball game (or any timed event), a final horn sounds for Christmas. Game over. December 25 slides on by and 364 other days await. The lights come down, the decorations disappear, the songs stop, and the holiday ads delete and incubate for another seasonal sale.
But the real Christmas story, the first one, ends on a note that doesn’t fade. After coming face-to-face with the Savior born, the Scriptures tell us that the shepherds left Christmas significantly impacted and sustainably changed.
Yes, they got back to business as usual, but were never the same. Glorifying and praising God now marked their lives.
“Glorifying God” means finding ways to make Him as big as He really is. Like inflating a balloon, it means bringing much greater size and presence to the One being glorified.
It now captures much more space and attention than its previous existence. It becomes as big as it’s supposed to be, as it was meant to be.
“Praising God” means telling God to His face about His matchless worth. It means acknowledging His greatness, freely and fully expressing one’s personal regard for who God is as well as gratefulness for what He has done. Praise properly directs and completes the joy of greatness discovered.
The shepherds kept glorifying and praising God because they never got over the fact that they met Jesus … and all the circumstances that surrounded their encounter.
They kept revisiting the story that God came near, that Hope was born, that salvation and rescue, freedom and pardon were now unmistakably, forever theirs. Like a good marriage, they never got over the wedding event. They kept seeing and believing.
Reflect: How are you leaving Christmas? Does glorifying and praising God mark your life? Is it a seasonal or sustained expression? What fresh way can you glorify God today and bring Him praise?
Seeing Jesus still and believing the story is the best way to leave Christmas and keep its Spirit alive in us.
A prayer to consider: Heavenly Father, I would see Jesus. Seeing Him, unlike this year or even this day, never disappoints. O how I praise You for Hope born and Salvation brought.
Help me bring You the glory due your Name. I want there to be no difference between the returning shepherds and me. Keep the story and spirit of Christmas alive in me no matter where I go and whatever day it is. You are the best! Amen.