"So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph,
and the child lying in the manger."
– Luke 2:16
When they heard the news of Messiah's birth, those shepherds got right up and went to Bethlehem.
. They couldn't just stay where they were.
. This good news couldn't wait!
"Haste" is an old-fashioned word, but we know it all too well in these remaining days before Christmas. For most of us, there's so much to do - and so little time to do it in.
And so, our holiday preparations feel hasty. These final days feel like the sprint to the finish line of a long-distance race. Many of us arrive at the holiday spiritually drained, having given it our all.
Was it that way for the shepherds? Was their haste draining and exhausting? Or was it filled with excitement and joy?
There is haste -
and there is haste.
What was the cause of the shepherds' haste? Did they feel
in the direction of Bethlehem by an overflowing to-do list? Or did they feel
by holy curiosity and hope,
towards the one sight their hearts yearned to behold: the babe in the manger?
There's no getting away from the fact that these days just before Christmas are hasty. The question is: are we being pushed by many things or pulled by the one thing?
I invite you to come to worship, this Fourth Sunday of Advent, to focus your heart and mind on the one thing: Jesus, the Lord. The scriptures and music of our Service of Lessons and Carols - a late-Advent tradition here at Lamington Church - are an invitation to an island of peace in the midst of the frenzy.
Come to worship this Sunday, and let the vision of the Christ-child gently pull you in the direction of the manger. It just may be the most important thing you can do, to prepare yourself for Christmas!