Every year, I enjoy listening to the BBC’s worldwide live radio broadcast of the Christmas Eve service from King’s College Chapel in Cambridge, England. This Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols combines Scripture readings, prayers, and choral music in a moving service of worship. One year, I was struck by the announcer’s description of the congregation leaving the magnificent chapel, saying they were “stepping out of this moment of grace and back into the real world.”
Wasn’t it that way on the first Christmas? The shepherds heard an angel announce the birth of the Savior, Christ the Lord (Luke 2:11), followed by a “multitude of the heavenly host praising God” (vv.13-14). After they found Mary, Joseph, and the Baby in Bethlehem, the shepherds couldn’t help telling others about this Child (v.17). “The shepherds went back to work, glorifying and praising God for everything that they had heard and seen, which had happened just as they had been told” (v.20 Phillips).
They had been changed by their “moment of grace.” As they stepped back into their real world, they carried the good news about Jesus in their hearts and voices.
May we too take God’s grace into the real world this Christmas and every day of the new year.
At this time of Christmas cheer
Not be true just in this season
But remain throughout the year. —Sper