And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them.” – Luke 2:18 (ESV)

Have you ever witnessed something really hard to believe?

Apparently, situations like this happen a lot at Christmas time. I mean, at least that’s the impression I get while watching Christmas-themed movies and shows. For example, of the few Hallmark Christmas movies I’ve seen, each of them had an unbelievable event as its central theme or as its climactic resolution. We watch these shows, knowing the plot is far-fetched. But it’s Christmas, and everyone knows that Christmas is a time of wonder. It’s a season when we can stretch the boundaries of rational thought and go with the whimsical. Who doesn’t love a conflict resolved through a Christmas miracle? While I love the sentimentality that is captured in these cinematic tales, my hope is that we don’t apply the same passive embrace to the true and “traditional” Christmas story.

When we read Matthew 1 and Luke 2, it is easy for us to envision the events as if they were unfolding in a Hallmark movie. We watch on, witnessing an event that is hard to believe but full of divine sentiment. A virgin having a baby, angels magically appearing in a field, and both low-class shepherds & high-class Magi belonging in the same redemption story all make for a nice tale. But it’s so much more than a tale. It challenges us to exercise belief not only in a sentimental movie kind of way but also in a “this is true, revolutionary history” kind of way.

Stop and think about your Bible. If you have it, feel free to hold it in your hand. What you’re holding is not a script. It is true history as penned by men moved by God. What we read can be hard to believe, but rest-assured it has been trusted and believed for centuries. Why? Because  the prophets’ hope led to the angels’ joy which brings us this week to the shepherds’ wonder.

You see, before the gospel authors bore witness of the Christmas story through the writing of their gospels, God had the lowly shepherds witness it firsthand. What they saw was hard to believe, but it did not stop them from sharing the wonder with all who would hear.

Friends, this is our challenge: that we would hear the account of the shepherds, join in their wonder, and then share that wonder with the world. Our passage this week is Luke 2:15-20. And be sure to listen to the worship set as you prepare for worship.

Jerry Lingenfelter
Senior Pastor

9:00 AM  – Worship Service On Campus & Online (Lancaster Campus)
9:15 AM – Worship Service On Campus (Myerstown Campus)
11:00 AM – Worship Service on Campus & Online (Lancaster Campus)



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