God writes the Gospel not in the Bible alone, but also on trees, and in the flowers and clouds and stars. Martin Luther
The night sky has always been a fascination for me. Last summer, my husband Bill, my brother, niece and I gazed into the sequined velvet blanket of the night sky from our cottage in Northern Wisconsin. The stars seemed so close I wanted to reach out to touch them. Stars are far-far away. But, I can easily get swept away in my romantic inclinations. I wonder how long it takes for what I consider the shining of the star to travel to me. What message might a star try to share with me from so far away?
Stars are not the only contributors in the nightly galactic performance. Astronomers direct us to search for the constellations, planets and moons. I continued to scan the expanse hopeful I might get a glimpse of a shooting star and make a wish. I detected a glimmer out of the corner of my eye. I called out to my other observers, "There! There's one!" But, the glimmer continued in a straight line at a consistent tempo. "It's a satellite," my brother announced. "Maybe a communication satellite?" I hopefully inquired.
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
I am pretty sure the shepherds were aware of the stars, constellations and nightly galactic presentations. But, never in a million years, do I think they expected to encounter an angel and an angel chorus. The message the angel delivered was a communication of cosmic proportion. The Messiah had come. The message was delivered during the hour of darkness. Those working on the dark plain were the recipients of news that would have permanent impact. The angel identified the news as good. "The news will cause great joy for all people," the angel said. Will cause? What did that mean? The good news wasn't limited to the birth of the Messiah? There was so much more.
God took what was broken, worn out and no longer of use and meticulously reclaimed it. God continued his painstaking work toward something good. Good defined by God. Good like Good Friday when the cosmos turned dark once again. God wasn't finished. On the first day of the week just before dawn, the women went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away and the tomb empty. Two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. The frightened women bowed down with their faces to the ground. The men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen!" (Luke 24:1-8 my paraphrase)
Consider for a moment how long it took for the message of good news to reach you. How long did it take for you to accept the news as good? God's reclamation project continues. There is much to do. God already did his part. The expectation is now with us. God expects us to share this good news. Tell the story! Deliver the message! He is coming! Don't be too surprised if you run into an angel. Listen to their message.