Interesting week as we move ever closer to Christmas. The death of former president, George H.W. Bush, was a major story and caused many Americans to ponder just how special this man was, and to yearn for those old days again. Many alive today have no concept of just who Ronald Reagan and George Bush were. But as the week progressed, I was very happy with myself that I avidly supported and voted for both
America was a different place then, as was the world. I can mention a multitude of achievements of both: the end of the Cold War, success of Gulf War, Disabled Americans Act, collapse of Soviet Union and many more. Neither administration was perfect but there was a renewed pride in America, a belief in a new American exceptionalism, a bi-partisan approach to key issues but above all, a civility and decency from both leaders that I and many yearn for today.
This week a new poll came out that indicated that there is a record number of Americans outraged or angry at each other and a host of other things. The "we the people" concept expressed in the Preamble of our Constitution seems to have disintegrated into ‘we verses you’. It is sad. It doesn't serve our nation well at all. When one then reflects on Bush and his predecessor, Reagan, we should clearly see that regardless of political differences, we were served by two very decent men...two patriots and statesmen. Oh for that again. America was served well. I am grateful for them. Two men with the principles to lead.
One other note, if you missed Bob Dole paying homage to President Bush, Youtube it. Two old soldiers of the Greatest Generation. It was moving beyond belief and description. God bless them and thank God for men like these.
Now to Christmas... One of my favorite passages about the Christmas Story in Luke deals with the heavenly host appearing to the shepherds in their fields announcing the birth of Jesus. Luke 2. Shepherds were a pretty lowly group in Israel, pretty low on the social strata.
And yet the very first ones to hear the wonderful news of Messiah's birth were those shepherds watching over their flocks in the Judean hills.
That has always struck me because there is in that true story, great significance for all of us. These shepherds were watching over their flocks by night just as Jesus, the Good Shepherd, watches over His own, even in the dark moments of our lives. But more than that, the Lord was telling not the highest of social elite first, but the bottom.
To me this has always been significant. Christ came for everyone, the whole world to anyone that would receive Him. It makes no difference who you are.
But a third point from that is that those shepherds received the news with great joy and followed the star to Bethlehem. Their response was quick, humble, and sincere. They went and worshipped and that is what we should do. We have to make a response to the Good News.
Finally, these same shepherds would leave that stable and go tell everyone they could the Good News. We should do the same. If you are excited about something that changes your life, don't you want to share it. They did....do you?
Jesus said anyone who was ashamed of Him and denied Him, He would deny before His Father in Heaven. We need to share and let our lives reflect the wonderful news of Christ. It’s not fake news, but the greatest news ever. It is good tidings of great joy. Travel with me in your mind to those hills and join the shepherds in the excitement, awe, wonder of Jesus' birth and then as it transformed their life, let it transform yours. And then like the great carol, go shout it on the mountain, that Jesus Christ is Lord.