While Shepherds

While is an interesting concept, have you every though about it?  Its an abstract concept, like zero , that probably wasn’t formally enunciated until well after the invention of written language, even though everybody sort of knew about it.  While means that when certain conditions exist other stuff is happening.  It gets even more complicated to think about when you realize that the two elements (the certain conditions and the other stuff) may be dependent or independent of each other

While is very important in computer programming.  Here is an example of a while loop in the C language.

int x = 0;
while (x < 5)
printf ("x = %dn", x);

This little snippet sets a variable called x to zero and tells the computer to run the printf function once and increment the value of x by 1 each time it is run for as long as the value of x is less than 5.  Since it starts as 0, printf would run 5 times.  So WHILE x is less than five run the printf function.

Luke 2:8-20 tells the story of the shepherds.  Luke says,”And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby…”.  But I like the words of the Carol:

While shepherds watched their flocks by night,
All seated on the ground,
The angel of the Lord came down,
And glory shone around,
And glory shone around.

While Shepherds.  While the whole world went about its business, while ordinary peasant shepherds kept watch, while imperial bureauacracies  announced taxes and censuses, while wars were fought, people fell in love, while the world went on with its business as usual, God acted in the greatest act of love the world had ever known or could know.

God always acts while we are up to other things.  Paul knew that.  Look at Romans 5:6-8:

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.  Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Like this:

while (sin > us)
christ died

While we were powerless, while we were still sinners, God acted.  While.

So back to the Shepherds.  What happened in their lives (unlooked for) while they were going about their business?  Well that one is easy, God announced his presence and activity in the world in a startling fashion.  An angel told them that the long expected Jewish Messiah had been born in Bethlehem and told them where to find the baby.  This was followed by a large number of other angels praising God and announcing His Peace and Favor.

What did the shepherds do when they heard the news?  They went to see for themselves the child they had been told about, and they found them just as they had been told they would.   They checked out the message for themselves and found it to be true.

But they did more than that, they told everybody they knew about what had happened and glorified and praised God.

What is God doing in the world around us while we are busy with our mundane tasks?  He still talks to us and announces his grace, mercy and love, but do we hear him?  Its easy at this point to say ,”If there were only angels so we could be sure it was God talking to us, we’d be sure to hear him.”  But as we saw with Zechariah, even when the most religious of us see the undoubtable presence of God in just exactly the place where we went to meet him, we sometimes don’t believe. We don’t get to use the excuse that God has been unclear to us or that his voice is somehow uncertain.   We need to be listening.

We also need to look for ourselves to see what God is doing.  If we listen to what he tells us and look around for the results of his actions in the lives of others (and ourselves), we’ll see what he is up to and that should lead us to>>>>

Action.  Specifically to tell and to worship.  To tell others about what God is doing, redeeming the world to himself and glorify him for what he is doing in our lives.

What is God doing while we are pursuing our own goals?  Isn’t it time we found out?