by David Sisler

Tomorrow most of the world will celebrate the birth of Jesus. I want you to go back with me, in your mind, to that night, the night an angel preached.

Here is the record of that event from the pen of Luke, the beloved physician:

"Suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.'

"And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.

"And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger."

It came to pass when the angels were gone. That is the hour of crisis. The angel gave a message. Now what will the shepherds do? The sermon is over. The listening is over. Now what?

It came to pass when the angels were gone. Were the shepherds any different because they had listened to the message? We hear countless sermons. Do they change our lives? Are we any different because we have heard God's Word?

It came to pass when the angels were gone. The music ended. The light faded. Stillness reigned once more on the Judean hillside. It is now the hour of crisis.

The shepherds have heard the story. What will they do with it? They have listened to the song. What will it mean in their lives? They have attended the service. Will the light they have seen lead them to greater light, or will its absence only make the shadows around them even blacker than before?

"Let us go," said the shepherds.

They dared to put the message to the test. They dared to see if the Word of God was true. And when they did, they found the babe, wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. They worshipped the new-born Christ. And their lives were never the same.

But suppose they had not gone. Suppose they had listened, and like many people today said, "You know, that was a great sermon!" But beyond that, suppose they had done nothing else.

Suppose they had debated about it. "You know," one of the shepherds might have said, "I'm not real sure about this message. Maybe we should do some more research. Maybe we should ask the Rabbi. Maybe this message isn't for us, but was for another group of shepherds." And they never went to see.

Now it is years later. One of the shepherds is now a grandfather. He has his grandson at his side and he is telling the boy the most wonderful story ever told. He tells of the angel's sermon and the angel's song. And the story ends there.

"But, Grandfather," the boy asks, "What did you do after the angel had preached? Did God really come in the form of a little baby to live among men? Did you go to Bethlehem?"

And the old shepherd sadly shakes his head and answers, "I never knew. Some said it was true, but I never went to see."

Jesus has come in the flesh. The baby, born in the manger that night long ago, grew and increased in favor with God and man. And then when His enemies opposed Him, He died on the Cross for the sins of all the world.

The story is true. I know it is true. I have experienced the power of Jesus Christ in my life.

Listening to the angels did not make it true for the shepherds. They had to go and see for themselves. Reading my report of what Jesus has done in my life will never make it true for you. You must receive Him for yourself. Until then, the message of Jesus Christ is just hearsay.


Published in the Augusta Chronicle 12/24/94

Copyright 1994 by David Sisler

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