A Call to Praise

Have you ever been faced with something in your sight lines that took your breath away? Maybe it was the time you stepped to the edge of the Grand Canyon and surveyed the vastness of its textured landscape. Perhaps it was the moment you witnessed the sun rising from atop the Haleakala Volcano rim as it broke the clouds and left you feeling like you were standing on the moon instead of the island of Maui. Maybe you are one of the millions who have witnessed the night sky extravaganza inside the Magic Kingdom of Disney World with “ooooo’s” and “aaaaaahhhh’s” as the evening fireworks display a show and grand finale that is a sight to behold.  Each is a breathtaking experience.  Each is a memorable moment.

 But nothing this side of heaven could take the place of the shock and holy awe the shepherds experienced on the night that heaven came down and kissed the earth. The Magic Kingdom has nothing on the Kingdom of God when it comes to a heavenly host lighting up the night sky and blasting a chorus of praise that proclaimed the Call of Christmas.  It was a call to praise!

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

Those were the words the angels proclaimed on the night when their eternal King who was and is and is to come, took on flesh and was born in a manger. As Earl Ellis described this unforgettable holy night, “The splendor of the vision is in sharp contrast to the commonness of the event.” A simple manger holding the Messiah coupled with a magnificent message from the angel that was magnified in song by the heavenly host.  “On earth as it is in heaven” became real.

Luke’s gospel sets the stage of this scene in and around the little town of Bethlehem. This is where the prophecies of long ago foretold that the Messiah would be born. The ruler of the day, Caesar Augustus, thought a census needed to be taken so that updated tax rolls could be formed as Jews frustratingly made their way back to their roots and hometowns. This decree of travel and registration from the highest office in Rome made the Jews furious as it reminded them of  their subjugation to Rome. That was the news of the day. But the Good News is that God sends Himself into our fury to bring us peace.

Little did Caesar Augustus know that God sovereignly was at work through his annoying Roman decree. But God has a way of moving through the affairs of nations to accomplish His own purposes. If you are feeling furious, annoyed, or downright frustrated this Christmas, take heart, God longs to insert Himself into your life situations to bring you peace and give you hope.

And God has a knack for using the ordinary to highlight the extraordinary. He stiil does . . . How does God want to use you this Christmas to bring Praise to His name?  How does God want to use you to tell others about Jesus? Just be open to being used! BE AVAILABLE!