Sunday, 10 December 2017

Go, Tell It On The Mountain

Lettering by my friend @rach_forsyth

Read: Luke 2: 8-20 

The shepherds were not expecting the skies to be aflame with angels that night. I mean, who could have expected it? It was a truly remarkable night.

Made remarkable by all of those other unremarkable nights: days and weeks and months and years of nights where the skies were silent and their lives were small and unimpressive. They were poor in a culture where richness equated blessing, sheep herders who lived in the fields in a culture that valued cleanliness, working nights in a culture that thrived in daytime.

So when the angels announce good news of great joy for all the people, they start with the people who the world would have expected to be furthest from joy. The poor, the unclean, the outsiders.

“I bring you good news of a great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Saviour, who is Christ the LORD. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”

The Messiah is born, the angel declares, and this is how you’ll know: he’s lying in a food trough.

And then the whole sky is riven with angels singing about the glories of God.

I cannot imagine the wonder of the shepherds as they stammered to one another with heaven’s crescendo still ringing in their ears: “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the LORD has told US about.”


In awe they hurry off and find the baby in a manger. The baby who is Israel’s anointed King; the baby who is the LORD.

And they find that this precious baby, the LORD, is not unlike them: He is poor, He is hanging out with unclean animals, He is lying in an animal's feeding manger, because there was “no place” for him elsewhere.

I love this story because it reminds me that no one is excluded from joy. When I am finding it most difficult to believe that happiness is possible, I remember that the angel promised that Jesus was a great joy for all people. The world says happiness is possible for the wealthy and the attractive and the career savvy and for the successful and for the loved and for the included.

But the angels say: Jesus is good news of great joy for the shepherds, for all the people, for me.

After they’ve found the Manger-Messiah, the shepherds return to the fields. Their circumstances have not changed, but their perspective has.

The King in the trough is their king and as their hearts swelled in wonder and glory, they could not help but to go tell it on the mountain: He is Heaven’s joy- and He’s for all the people.
Carol: Go Tell It On The Mountain

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