December 28, 2020
When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger… And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
The lyrics of “O Come All Ye Faithful” could have been written by the shepherds from our passage. This wonderful carol is essentially a song of praise and worship, and it expresses the same exhortation the shepherds must have felt like shouting themselves that night: “Come! Come to Bethlehem! Come adore the Messiah, the King! He’s been born to us! Here! Now! What joy! Glory to God! Christ the Lord is born!”
And I wonder if any word in the lyrics reflects God’s heart more fully than the first one: Come!
The truth is, most of us just don’t go to God very quickly. We talk a good game about our spirituality and we can rationalize about our responsibilities and priorities, but in reality we don’t spend dedicated time with God nearly as much as we could. We tend to spend much of our time doing our own thing day by day. Our actions and choices are typically driven by our own needs and wants. And when we do go to God, it’s usually because trouble has come up! It’s a great question for each of us: How often do I take the actual step to go and specifically talk with God?
If you want an encouraging study, try reviewing all the times and ways Jesus instructed people to simply “come” to Him. “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28, just one example amongst many others.) God wants us to come to Him! But there is a step we must take: We must go. We must take the initiative, we must make the decision and do it. We must stop whatever we’re doing and turn our attention to Him. However we do that–in silence, in listening, in talking, reading, sitting, walking, hiking, even running–however and whenever it works for you–we must turn to Him. The living God, the Person who is really there and Who created everything (including you!), wants to be with you. Will you go?
The shepherds went. How about you?
And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price. – Revelation 22:17