Angelic Appearings and Smelly Shepherds – Advent of a New Tradition Week Two


So, I’m into my second week of the Advent of a New Tradition – that of being WITH God every day of advent and of intentionally being WITH others to express the love of Christ on those same days.

By the end of last week, one thing that stood out to me is how easy it would be to allow the being WITH others to crowd out my time of being WITH God. For one thing, people are easy to see. I mean, they’re everywhere and you can actually hear their voices and touch their hands. I’m pretty concrete so that helps to get my attention.

Also, people actively participate in the process by demanding your attention – God has never called on my cell, knocked on my office door or invited me out for coffee. This experience of being WITH others really listening and sharing God’s love has the added benefit of providing immediate feedback – I can see how worthwhile it is, I feel like I’m doing something vital, the other person can tell me how the being WITH is going.

Plus, there seems to be no end to the variety of ways I can spend time WITH others – chatting, eating, drinking, walking, movie watching, shopping, cards, emails, and telephone. This thought reminded me that often I limit God by thinking that “time with Him” must look a certain way and involve only certain things like my Bible, my devotional and my journal. He’s showing me this week how available He is to me throughout the day and night no matter what I’m doing.

The pulling away from other people to be alone WITH God is key to not letting the being WITH others take up so much time that I don’t connect with God. Some days, I could actually feel myself running out of spiritual and emotional fuel from so actively being WITH others. It was a healthy reminder that it’s not ME they need but Christ who lives in me and that I need access to His wisdom to know which people and what time. I need Him to be in control not anyone else.

The pulling away to be with God is also key in me not getting caught up in people’s responses or in my role with them. It’s easy to get hooked on helping others and that’s not what I’m trying to do. I’m not trying to counsel, help, give advice or fix problems, I’m just trying to be WITH people in the name of Jesus in whatever circumstance they find themselves. Some of them are doing just fine. Others have problems that are way beyond my abilities or wisdom to solve. The pulling away reminds me that I’M not God, He is.

Reading the Christmas story in Luke 2:1-40, gives me deeper insight into the ways God weaves Himself and His ways into the everyday lives of us humans. A decree by a Roman Caesar with a desire to count his people brings Mary and Joseph to the city prophesied to be the place of the Messiah’s birth. His conception was miraculous but His delivery seems downright conventional. The shepherds are just poor working men on third shift when a contingent of angels makes the announcement of the Messiah’s birth. The announcement is supernatural but the word spreads through Bethlehem by the simple, clumsy, human means of shepherds telling everyone they see what they have heard.

Just as the babe was wrapped in swaddling clothes, so God chooses to be wrapped up in human affairs. He is present with me with when I pull away to be alone but He is also present in the interruptions, the detours and the daily routine. He is always seeking my attention. Being WITH Him means I make a conscious effort to live my day aware of His presence at all times – aware that I live in a world full of both glorious angelic appearings and divine messages spread through weary, smelly shepherds.

Emmanuel – God WITH us.  Absolutely amazing.


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7 Comments

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  1. Andrea says:

    AMEN..the key is being aware of HIS presence and focused on HIM.
    Blessings, andrea

  2. Cheri says:

    Three paragraphs in today’s post really ministered to me for those times when I am in the trenches of “ministry”: “The pulling away from other people to be alone WITH God is key to not letting the being WITH others take up so much time that I don’t connect with God. Some days, I could actually feel myself running out of spiritual and emotional fuel from so actively being WITH others. It was a healthy reminder that it’s not ME they need but Christ who lives in me and that I need access to His wisdom to know which people and what time. I need Him to be in control not anyone else.

    “The pulling away to be with God is also key in me not getting caught up in people’s responses or in my role with them. It’s easy to get hooked on helping others and that’s not what I’m trying to do. I’m not trying to counsel, help, give advice or fix problems, I’m just trying to be WITH people in the name of Jesus in whatever circumstance they find themselves. Some of them are doing just fine. Others have problems that are way beyond my abilities or wisdom to solve. The pulling away reminds me that I’M not God, He is….

    “Just as the babe was wrapped in swaddling clothes, so God chooses to be wrapped up in human affairs. He is present with me with when I pull away to be alone but He is also present in the interruptions, the detours and the daily routine. He is always seeking my attention. Being WITH Him means I make a conscious effort to live my day aware of His presence at all times – aware that I live in a world full of both glorious angelic appearings and divine messages spread through weary, smelly shepherds.”

    Wow, such wisdom! Thank you so very much!!! It’s all about “balance” and staying in the middle, in my mind. We need to be available to others in order to help them see Jesus with skin on, but if we are not available to Him, to get refueled and filled, we are just empty shells mirroring a false image of Him Who sent us in the first place.

    Love and hugs,
    Cheri

  3. Living Water says:

    How important indeed it is for us to know God’s presence amid busy schedules and the meeting up with people.

    The pulling away from being too busy and from people to be alone WITH God is certainly key to Christian living, not to let ourselves become so busy WITH others till we fail to take time to connect with God. Yes, we certainly need to be reminded to pull away to know we’re not God, He is!

    Thank you for sharing this blessed message.

  4. Love and hugs back at you, Cheri.

  5. Thank you for the affirmation, Ed.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Lori: Thinking of you . You do a great job teaching and with your blog. Thanks for all your help. Fancy Nancy