"All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished." Luke 2:18 (NLT)
Advent is a time of preparation and expectant waiting. Preparing for the coming of the Christ child. Preparing our hearts, minds, and lives for God breaking into the world. It is a time of expectant waiting, not knowing the fullness of what God will bring for all humanity. It is a very special time.
Christmas is one week from today. It is the culmination of the expectant waiting of Advent. The Christ child is born and the shepherds and others know the Good News of great joy for everyone has arrived. The angel was right. The child is born. The star led them right to him. For unto us a child is born and the shepherds could not keep quiet. Luke says they told everyone about what they had experienced. The waiting was over!
The most amazing thing about the shepherd's story for me is the reaction of those who heard it. Luke tells us that "all who heard the shepherd's story were astonished." The story is amazing for sure. There also had to be something about them that made the story astonishing. I am sure that their faces lit up, their voices got excited, and they became more animated. They were sharing a story that literally changed them. All who heard it were astonished.
So how do we tell the story? Do we tell the story? The move from Advent to astonishment is a journey from introspection to proclamation. We prepare ourselves for Christ's birth, waiting expectantly for the day to come, and then we are to do as the shepherd's did and tell everyone; to proclaim the Good News of great joy. So who will you tell this Christmas? Who will you take from Advent to astonishment this Christmas?
I pray that this Christmas we can all astonish people with the story of what God has done for us!