"The shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them." Luke 2:20
Global Positioning Systems, GPS, are all the rage. No matter where you are in the world, you can get where you want to go, and return home again. All you have to do is listen to your GPS, and follow the directions. It is still a matter of obedience. Nothing has changed much since the shepherds followed their angelic directions and made their way to Jesus.
The shepherds received a commission from the angel to go to a stable in Bethlehem. When the army of angels returned to heaven, the shepherds raced to the town, and followed the directions until they found the Child in the manger. What they did next is an indication of the impact that their encounter with Jesus had upon their lives. Luke's account says, "The shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, just as had been told them."
Long before texting was invented, the letters PTL were used to express, Praise the Lord! When praise for God becomes so irksome that just saying the words are too burdensome, it is time for a fresh encounter with Jesus.
"Jesus is the Reason for the Season." I remember the first time I saw the bumper sticker with this announcement plastered on the car in front of me. The passengers were in a fight and the vehicle was filled with packages. Bumper stickers are not always proof of truth in advertising. Some of you will remember a sticker from the seventies, "Honk if You Love Jesus." Honking at a person with that label on their car never produced a positive response. If their hand gesture was any indication, they must have borrowed it or bought a used car.
When the shepherds left the manger, they went back to their work and their homes, glorifying and praising God. Their response is still the industry standard for those of us who want to make sure that Christ is put back into Christmas. There are many activities during this time of year that require great expense, and enormous effort. The test of whether these events are worthy of our energy is the response they produce in our own lives and those who participate in them.
The Christmas season should produce more than the comments,"What a party!", "What a pageant!", "What a sermon!", "What a present!", or "What a service!" All these are poor substitutes for, "What a Savior!" After all the animals have exited the building, the bathrobes and hay have been put away, the tree and lights taken down, there just has to be something more left behind than 'festival fatigue."
If you have lost your way in the celebration of Christmas, you might want to turn to God's GPS...Glorifying Praising Shepherds. They lead us away from a self-absorbed obsession with pageants, presents and parties, and take us back to the root system of the Christmas tree...glorifying and praising God for sending His Son to be our Savior.
Glorifying and praising God for His Perfect Gift is not limited to a season of the year or expressed by a single style of worship. It is a way of life that confronts our secular culture with a sacred perspective, no matter what. Praising God in difficult circumstances and unexpected conditions is only possible when there is a consistent companionship with Jesus. The fruit of keeping Christ in Christmas comes out of the overflow of an unbroken connection with The Root, every day of the year.
Glorifying God means that everything we do and say reflects well on Who He is. Praising God means that we honor His character and His contributions to our lives in spite of the conditions that around us. If glorifying and praising God has not been on your Christmas list, there is till time to do some shopping. My friend, John Caster, keeps me updated on the latest Christmas trivia. His most recent report informed my that the 12 days of Christmas don't begin until Christmas Eve. See there is still plenty of time to get back to the basics of glorifying and praising God. You might want to turn on God's GPS and begin with your ABC's.
Ancient of Days, Alpha and Omega, Advocate
Bridegroom, Born of a Virgin, Blood of the Lamb
Comforter, Creator, Counselor
Defender, Daystar, Deliverer
Eternal, Edifier, Elohim
Friend, Faithful and True, Father of Lights
Good, Guide, Great, Giver
Holy, Helper, Healer
I AM, Invincible, Intercessor
Jehovah Jireh, Judge, Jehovah Nissi
King of Kings, Kinsman Redeemer, Keeper
Lord of Lords, Life, Light
Maker, Mercy, Master
Name Above All Names, Near, Nazarene
Omnipotent, Omnipresent, Omniscient, One True God
Prince of Peace, Paraclete, Power
Quickener of the Dead
Rock of My Salvation, Redeemer, Rest
Savior, Sustainer, Shelter,
Teacher, Tester, Truth
Uplifter of my head, Unleavened
Victor, Vindicator, Vision
Way, Warrior, Wonderful
X = Christ
Yahweh, Yoke Master,
Zion's Hope and Soon Coming King
Reminding ourselves of Who God is fills our hearts until it has to be poured out on others. The shepherds went back to their work and homes glorifying and praising God after they encountered Jesus. When you are lost in the maze of malls, and mushy sentimentality turn on God's GPS. The shepherds got with Jesus and the encounter changed them from the inside out. Jesus can do the same for you today. It is a simple as A, B, C.