Love Came Down: How Will We Respond?
How do we respond to the Christmas story? Is it with a sense of anticipation, urgency, a desire to live counter-culturally? Lucy unpacks the response of the Shepherds and Fisherman as something to behold in our own lives. Enjoy girls.. Christmas is nearly here!
In the future, when pub quiz questions start with the words “In what year…”, 2016 is probably more likely to be the answer than any other year in the 21st Century. To say that it’s been an eventful year feels like an understatement, and major questions about the state of our nation and the world at large linger over us as we head into 2017. Even at a personal level, it seems impossible to escape the ramifications of this year’s events.
So perhaps appropriately, 2016 has reminded me of the kind of life God has called me to – to be counter-cultural, to be a light in dark places, and to stand in the gap between heaven and earth in prayer for this world.
And I think the Christmas Story provides a pretty good picture of this call that God holds out to us.
When I was reading the story again the other day, I was struck by the immediacy with which people responded to Jesus. When the “multitude of heavenly hosts” appeared to the shepherds, the Bible tells us that they “went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger” (Luke 2:8-16).
The shepherds clearly caught on to the fact that something really important had happened, and they responded to the call by hurrying to see the baby Jesus. And by doing so, other than Mary, Joseph and a few stable-dwelling animals, they became the first witnesses of the Son of God! I can imagine their lives were pretty different after that encounter.
Later on in accounts of Jesus’ life, we read about how He called His disciples. Matthew 4:18-20 says:
“While walking by the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And He said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Immediately they left their nets and followed Him.”
It’s the word “immediately” that struck a chord with me. These men don’t appear to have thought twice about the decision they were making – they just dropped their jobs, families and possessions, and followed Jesus because they recognised that He was different, special, the Son of God himself who will take away the sins of the world (John 1:29).
Incredibly, the same call applies to us this Christmas and all year round. And if you’re feeling like you’re not good enough or successful enough, remember that God called shepherds and fishermen to follow Him – not the most likely candidates!
How will you respond to Jesus this Christmas and looking ahead to 2017? Will you answer the call and embrace the countercultural life that our Father calls us to?
Lucy lives in North London, goes to St Luke’s in Kentish Town, and works as a Civil Servant in central government. When she isn’t working, Lucy can be found running on Hampstead Heath, escaping to Norfolk to visit her family, helping to organise a big summer Christian youth festival, and trying out new baking recipes!