13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told. – Luke 2:13-20
Have you ever stopped to notice the different reactions in these eight short verses to the birth of Jesus? I’ve heard this story and read these verses many times, but the reactions never really struck me the way they did when I read it today. The one that really hit me was Mary’s…she treasured them…she pondered them in her heart. PEACE…sounds like PEACE.
I’ve thought a lot the past few days…and weeks…and years really…about the differences in the ways people worship Him. I’ve read books. I’ve attended churches. I’ve listened. I’ve watched. I’ve been struck by the love each person has and their hearts despite their differences. I’ve heard people applaud the latest worship band and share their love of a cappella. I’ve thought about traditions that include Advent and those that don’t and the ways both point to the Savior. I’ve contemplated all the reasons some believers have manger scenes in their homes and some don’t. I’ve found nuggets of value in all of them.
In the past few years I’ve worshiped with charismatics and non-charismatics. I’ve worshiped with people from a wide variety of denominational backgrounds….and never even knew it. 🙂 I’ve worshiped with them and was well aware of the differences, but we ALL worshiped!
There is a debate going on this time of year about who says Merry Christmas and who doesn’t and who has the right to impose limits on that phrase and who doesn’t.
Hmmm…at the very beginning of this story…some spread the word…and the one…seemingly the closest…treasured and pondered in her heart…and the baby was glorified by BOTH!