Go Tell It On the Mountain

In Luke 2:17 we are told that after the shepherds went and saw the baby Jesus, they were compelled to tell everyone they saw what they had just experienced. As I was pondering this, I thought to myself – who was it the shepherds were telling? I love the way The Message puts is – it says “They told everyone they met…”. Everyone! But what were these people doing that the shepherds were telling?

Go back to Luke 2:1. Of course we know this is how the story starts – with everyone going to their own city to be counted. The towns were bursting at the seams. I imagine it was crowded, busy, tempers may have been short, and people were probably pretty self-absorbed. Shopping and traffic had to be a nightmare as this influx of people strained the infrastructure of these towns. And, yet, during all of this the shepherds told them that the Messiah had come in the form of a baby. Does any of this sound vaguely familiar? You bet it does!

But even in the face of these obstacles, the shepherds were still compelled to tell. They had experienced something that was life-transforming to the point that they left their sheep behind and braved the crowded malls, ahem, towns and told everyone they met about Jesus.

What about you? Have you encountered the Baby in the manger? If so, who have you told?

Maybe What Christianity Needs is a Grinch

You remember the story of the Grinch. Yes, the one that stole Christmas. I was thinking about the Mean One and one of the reasons why he hated the Who’s so much. It was the noise, noise, NOISE!

As you recall, the Grinch then proceeds to remove all of the objects of irritation to him from the houses of the Who’s. After he has stripped them of everything, he expects a wail of dismay to erupt from the town of Whoville. What he gets instead is a united chorus of celebration. Something so unexpected it swells his heart and causes him to turn from his old ways.

As I reflected on this, I thought of Christianity and how our rights are being stripped away by the world (the Grinch) simply because we are an irritant to them. But as I thought a little more, I wondered if maybe they are right? Maybe we are a source of irritation to them simply because of the fact all Christianity appears to be is cacophonous noise. We don’t agree on anything, we are constantly bickering over little matters, constantly forcing our rules on them. When you look at it that way, I can understand a little of their meanness toward us.

So what will it take for us to be unified as believers? Will it actually come down to the “Grinch” stripping everything away from us before we realize that what binds us is more important than what divides us?

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not advocating we water down the message of the Gospel. Quite the opposite. I’m saying that the Gospel is what, together, we need to sing at the tops of our lungs from the center of our towns, like the Who’s did on that Christmas morning. THAT is what brings us together – not petty arguments over music, clothes, food, etc.

Jesus said it best when he was asked what the first and greatest commandment was. Jesus could have answered anything. He could have pulled from any of the many Old Testament laws (He wasn’t limited to just 10). Instead He chose to answer this way in Mark 12:29-31 – 1) There is only one God, 2) You should love this God with all your soul, mind, and strength, and 3) You should love your neighbor as yourself. Wow.

I think we, as Christians (no matter your other “label”), all better start showing some unified love. Otherwise, the Grinch will come and steal everything, forcing us into it. I would rather choose it. What about you?

How are you loving the one and only God today, and, in turn, showing that love to your neighbor?