There is no doubt that our senses are heightened during the season of Christmas. As our world magically transforms into the holiday season, we are greeted with the sights and sounds of this time of year. Darkened spaces are covered in bright lights. Buildings that you might not usually notice are lit up. Trees covered in lights stand proudly for others to see in our windows. The daily music we might listen to on our radio shifts to seasonal songs that celebrate both the sacred and secular of Christmas. Walk in any store at this time of the year, and Christmas music can be heard in the background.
On a quiet hillside outside Bethlehem, shepherds were watching over their flock when they were greeted with a heavenly display of angels. A host of angels, basked in light, announced to them the good news that a Savior had been born. Their announcement rang out like a song, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth, peace to those on whom his favor rests.“ (Luke 2:14) With their senses awakened, the shepherds go to Bethlehem to see for themselves what the angels had told them.
In Bethlehem, they find Mary, Joseph, and the infant Jesus. Their story was indeed amazing, and Mary pondered their words in her heart. What a dramatic tale they shared. The scriptures then tell that they “left glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen.“ (Luke 2: 20) The sights and sounds of that first Christmas would forever impact their lives. Experiencing what they had experienced would be transformative in their lives. Two thousand years later, we are still telling their story.
How has the Christmas story impacted our own lives? Have our senses been awakened by the angelic announcement and the baby in a manger? The sights and sounds of the first Christmas continue to offer us an invitation to experience the birth of Jesus anew in our lives. We, too, can live our lives glorifying and praising God for all that God has done. Like the shepherds, our stories can be transformed by Christmas. This is the good news that is offered to all people. May our eyes and ears be open to the sights and sounds of the season and our mayo our hearts be opened to the Bethlehem child.