I love the words of this classic Christmas carol – ”Do You Hear What I Hear?” I almost have a picture in my mind – if this were a child’s Christmas story – of a small shepherd boy skipping away from the manger in Bethlehem singing; “Do you hear what I hear?” …“Do you see what I see?”…“Do you know what I know?”
Through the course of this Advent series, we will be taking a little more in depth look at this well known part of the Christmas story about the shepherds and especially the words of verse 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.” Later in the Book of Luke and in the life of Jesus, John’s disciples come to Jesus and ask “Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?” Jesus replies; “Go back and report to John what you have seen and what you have heard!”
The angel messenger who was sent to the shepherds of Bethlehem startled them with his presence, but his voice spoke the very words of God; words that God wanted the whole world to hear…”I bring good news of great joy! To you this day is born in the city of David – a Savior!” I can imagine that as the tiny child in the manger of Bethlehem cried for the first time, Satan and all of hell must have heard God’s voice thunder in their midst! Do you hear what I hear?
There once was a skit out that asks the question; “What did Joseph do the day after Christ was born?” The play imagines that since Joseph is a carpenter, that he begins to make a crib for Jesus. And, as he does, he thinks about all the events surrounding the birth of Jesus; the angels, the shepherds, the wise men, and he thinks to himself “If they treat him like this when he is just a baby, how will they treat him when they find out that he is the Son of God?” At about that time, the lights suddenly go out and all you hear is the hammer hitting the spikes… “How will they treat him when they find out who he really is?”
The goal of any good communicator is not necessarily to speak well with perfect English, but to be heard and understood. In the Old Testament God spoke clearly through the prophets, but nobody listened. God spoke through the scriptures, but nobody listened. In our scripture today, God spoke through angels and the testimony of others, but they still did not listen. It says they were “amazed” but they were not listening! Today God still speaks in ways that we can hear Him, receive his message clearly, and understand Him…if we are listening.
One of the most important Christian concepts that we can grasp is that when God speaks, he is speaking to us personally. Every scripture we read, God speaks to us. Every scripture we hear, God speaks to us. Every message given, every study taught, every testimony heard; God is speaking to us.
I don’t know how many times you have heard the Christmas story, perhaps every year of your life since you started school, but if you don’t hear anything else I have said today, hear this; “God loves you!” The child Jesus – born of the virgin Mary – the Son of God – in the manger of Bethlehem – was born for you because God loves you! I hope you hear what I hear…