Drumming Up Amazement for the Familiar



When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.

–Luke 2:15-18


There’s this effort every year to make the Christmas story new. We pressure ourselves to see it with fresh eyes, so that we can feel it, really feel it, this time around.

It’s difficult to marvel at something so familiar.

At the first Christmas, the shepherds weren't forced to share all the fantastic things that had happened to them, they were compelled. We would feel that way too, I think.

Many times, it feels like we are trying to drum up amazement for the Christmas story. It just feels forced, at least it does to me. Our efforts to ring the bell of excitement often don't work.

But I think that’s okay.

Because sometimes it does work. Sometimes a church service or a song or a book or a sermon or even just a drive down a street aglow with lights captures our hearts and we remember. We remember the story really is true. God actually does exist and He surely does love us. And maybe, we even feel it in those moments.

And I know I, at least, can use a taste of God’s love as often as I can find it.

So let’s continue to seek out and share those moments that stir our hearts. We never know when the Holy Spirit might use them to break through our clutter.


Father in heaven, help us see You. Help us feel You. Help us hear You. May we be amazed once again by the love story of Christmas. May those who need Your love the most feel it most tangibly in this season. Amen.


I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day – The Civll Wars

“I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day Their old familiar carols play, And wild and sweet the words repeat Of peace on earth, good will to men.”


Noticing Immanuel: a series for Advent. Each day starts with noticing: a picture of an everyday Christmas moment. That picture leads to a verse, a meditation, a prayer, and a song. My hope is that when we see those Christmas moments a second time, they will strike us differently. That we might feel the presence of Immanuel this Christmas season, whether we are sitting in quiet or moving in chaos.