I am intrigued by the music at Christmas time. In fact I wrote a new song with that same title “Christmas Time” depicting the atmosphere in this season. It reminds me of what happened on the first Christmas. Angels, pregnant mothers, and father's all singing. Song broke out at the coming of the heavenly Light into our earthy world.
There is one song that blesses me of the five that were sung two thousand years ago. It is the song of the shepherds. The angel of the Lord had just appeared to these Bethlehem herdsmen watching over the sheep intended for sacrifice in the temple a few miles away. They were terrified by the angel’s sudden appearance and overwhelmed by the brilliance he carried from God’s presence. Soon after the angel tells them that the Messiah is born and where to find Him, the sky splits open and a great number of celestial luminaries appear and began to sing on the top of their voices.
Scholars say the "holy messengers" marched out of the heavens in military formation singing a song they had prepared from the other side. These "mighty ones" as the Bible calls them are created to sing praise to God. How majestic the song of these "melodic messengers" must have been.
The events of the birth of Jesus were a busy time for the angels. Different ranks of angels were involved in giving birth announcements to the baby's father, mother and family members. But why was the announcement of Jesus birth given to the shepherds? They were considered young rebels often stealing from homes as they moved with their flocks through the countryside. They didn't have the cultural status to warrant a heavenly visitation. They were certainly not qualified to be the audience of such a glorious presentation of celestial song. So why did they hear the angel army sing?
One answer is that Jesus did not come to the righteous and religious but to the simple and the sinner. They received the birth announcement from heaven as a representation that the Messiah had come to all average persons to seek and save those who are lost. Or, the answer could be as the guardians of the sacrificial lambs they needed to be notified the sacrificial Lamb had come.
As fast as they could, the shepherds ran to Bethlehem to find the manger and the Christ child. There might have been nothing special about this new born snuggled in rags for warmth and comfort. But there must have been a glorious witness in their hearts by the Spirit of God because when they returned in the middle of the night they were singing on the top of their lungs just like that angel army did.
But wait a minute the shepherds are not singers! Yes I know! That’s what so impacting. After seeing Jesus, the hope of the world, they were "praising and glorifying God." The word praising is a musical term meaning they were singing praises in honor to God. These non-musical outdoorsmen returned to their late night work singing spontaneously after having an encounter with Jesus. Music often breaks out when we have a visitation of God. That is why singing is such a huge part of the Christian faith and Holy Spirit revivals. Music and singing is such an important part of the kingdom of God and in kingdom of heaven whether we are musically gifted or not...because it is not about art but hearts rejoicing because He is here and His near!
The song the shepherds heard changed everything. The song from heaven became a song on earth. The evangelists of heaven birthed evangelists on earth who were the first to spread the good news of Jesus Christ. The roaming shepherds became the first itinerant preachers and itinerant worshipers in the kingdom of God.
So my question is will you return from visiting Jesus this season glorifying and praising God? Will you be a pioneer of the gospel—a singing evangelist—to your world? Have a very melodic and merry Christmas.