"Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to all whom God favors." Luke 2:14 (NLT)
While in the airport waiting for our flight home from New York our family had a celebrity sighting. We were sitting in the area at the gate waiting for boarding to begin when a crowd of people headed toward us. There were people surrounding a young couple who were walking very fast, as if to try and outpace the crowd. As the crowd came closer we were able to make out who the couple was. It was wrestler and actor John Cena and his girlfriend. People were going crazy trying to see them and potentially talk to them and get their autograph. It was a pretty wild scene in the airport and all because of a person who has been on television.
Now before I get too spiritual on you…I can understand why people would get excited about seeing a celebrity. I have been excited to see certain famous people in my life as well. After all, we watch them in the public eye, on the big screen, on television shows and we enjoy their work. We may even develop a certain attachment to them because of who we perceive them to be. We might think they are a good person who is generous and kind, funny and likable. It is admittedly pretty cool to meet someone who is famous and talented. So I am not saying there is anything wrong with the scene we experienced in the airport. What we soon found out is that John Cena and his girlfriends were on the same flight to Tampa that we were on. So the buzz continued for the duration of the flight until we all went our separate ways after landing in Tampa.
This story came to mind as I was envisioning the night Christ was born. Stay with me here. There were shepherds out in the fields watching over their flocks in the still of the night. There were people getting ready for bed, or already asleep, at the inn in Bethlehem. There was an inn keeper who was closing the books on a good night, all of his rooms were taken. It was a sleepy night with all the normalcy of a fairly typical night in and around Bethlehem. Nothing very out of the ordinary at all.
It was into this scene that Mary and Joseph came. It was into this scene that everything was turned upside down. It was into this scene that an angel spoke to unexpecting shepherds and choirs of angels sang. It was into this scene that the inn keeper offered unconventional lodging to a young and weary couple. It was into this scene that those sleeping in their comfortable rooms were awoken by the sounds of childbirth in the stable. It was into this scene that God’s Son was born and changed everything. It was into this scene that the shepherds left their flocks and came to see the one who would save them.
This is the scene where all came to see the newborn Jesus. The glory of the Lord was present and peace came on earth. There was a divine celebrity in their midst and a crowd began to form for sure. This divine celebrity is the only one worthy of a crowd and commotion. Jesus is the one who deserves all honor, glory, and praise. The One who came to bring us peace is also the one who deserves our praises. It is my prayer that this Christmas you will experience both the glory of God and the peace Christ alone can bring to your life. May you have a divine celebrity sighting in your life this Christmas in the person of Jesus Christ.
Tomorrow is Christmas Eve and we will celebrate the birth of Christ together at our 4:30 Family Service; our 6:30 Contemporary Service; our 8:30 Traditional Service with orchestra and choir; and our 11:00 Traditional Service with choir, hand bells, and communion. These are perfect opportunities to invite family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers to experience the love of Christ through worship. Please remember that on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day we will have one service at 10:00AM.
I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year. This is an exciting time of anticipation at St. Andrew’s. I can’t wait to see you in church!