Google+ 12/23/13 Don't Be Late or a No-Show!

Luke 2:18-20


All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished,

But Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often.

The shepherds went back to their flocks,

Glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen.

It was just as the angel had told them.


In part seven of our nine-part devotion series entitled, "Travel, Taxes, and Temptations!" we discover the far-reaching effects of the obedience and faith of the shepherds to show up and be on time.  Luke tells us that everyone who heard the shepherds' story were astonished.  Who knew shepherds were evangelists?!  The answer to that question is God did!!!  The shepherds got all of it right.  They did not miscommunicate the story or make it complicated.  They showed up to experience the birth of Jesus as instructed and they weren't late!  While we are on the subject of late, why are we and why is it okay?  Our society seems to cater to those that have no respect for God or the time He gives us.  Churches have begun starting their church services at "11:03" to accommodate the fact that many people even arrive late for church.  I was fortunate to grow up in a home where we were always early, thanks to my dad.  He taught me great habits in this area and I rejoice that he did so.  The Christmas story is a perfect example of why we should never be late for God.  What if the shepherds had arrived after Jesus and his parents had left the manager?  Make no mistake that this was one of the major identifying characteristics of who Jesus was, as the angels explained this marvelous event to the shepherds.  Arriving late would have meant no manager and a very possible misinterpretation of who Jesus was.  What's worse, what would have happened if they had made excuses and never showed up at all?  That is a scary thought, but in our society today, it is a very real one.  Our Scripture lesson tells us that the shepherds went back to their flocks praising God for all they had seen and heard.  Being obedient and taking time for Jesus made them better shepherds.  It is so sad that this Christmas season, so many will be "late" or "not show up at all" for Jesus.  Ironically, they will have all their presents wrapped and under the tree.  All the "Christmas" meals will be prepared and served in a timely fashion.  The problem is that when we return to "our flocks" on December 26th, we won't be any better for Jesus and we certainly won't be praising anyone.  We will just be stuffed and further in debt!  Don't be confused with what I said.  I am not against presents or meals at Christmas time.  Having said that, the Biblical reality is that Jesus wants our presence at the manger to see Him.  "Don't Be Late, or a No-Show!"