It’s an annual surprise.
Some afternoon, usually in March, I hang up my gray winter coat for the last time of the season.
There’s no official ceremony or anything and the groundhog’s shadow-predictions never prove perfectly accurate.
It’s just a simple thing. One day I casually drape my coat across the hook in my closet and there it lingers through spring, summer and fall.
Then, on a morning (usually in November), I stop deceiving myself into thinking that sweaters are enough to keep my teeth from chattering. I reach past my fall jacket in the closet, pull down that same wool coat from its trusty hook, slip my hands into the sleeves and dip my hand into the pocket.
I’ve pulled out Mom-things, like pacifiers and baby socks (don’t all moms pop baby socks into pockets)?
Grocery store receipts unfold like magician’s handkerchiefs—always one more emerges from hidden corners.
There are pens and paper clips, ticket stubs, rocks for my daughter’s collection, hair clips and ponytail holders, cough drops, and maybe even tissues (unused, thankfully).
There’s generally little treasure among the trash. Mostly my life out and about with my kids consists of periodically dumping the overflow of their stuff into my pockets when my hands are full.
Occasionally, though, I reach into that winter coat for the first time in November and pull out coins. Better yet, a dollar or two or three….or even ten.
That’s enough to make this girl happy dance in the middle of my closet.
Then, pulling myself together, I announce the news to my kids, post a happy-face announcement on Facebook and tell my husband the story later that night.
Discoveries, after all, are meant for sharing. They’re the kind of spill-all-over joy that we can’t keep quiet about.
Maybe that’s how the Shepherds felt standing on that darkened hillside with snoring sheep.
Perhaps it even explains what the angels were doing, singing their praise songs in the night sky to an audience of somnolent herdsman about a Savior being born.
All of heaven exploded with the “good news that will cause great joy for all the people!” (Luke 2:9), the Messiah, the Lord. They couldn’t contain the excitement!
One angel made the announcement, but others crowded the sky and joined in the chorus: “Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God” (Luke 2:13).
The angel’s joyful news sent the shepherds tumbling all over themselves to see “this thing that has happened, which the Lord had told us about” (Luke 2:15).
When we hear good news, don’t we long to see with our own eyes, to experience this joy ourselves?
That’s what sharing our testimony does: it ignites passion, it incites curiosity, it encourages a searching and finding of the truth, the Savior, of salvation.
Then, when the shepherds found the manger and peered over the corners at the baby-King, “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 2:17-18).
They had discovered Jesus and no way could they keep that quiet.
No matter how many times Jesus asked those he healed in his ministry to keep quiet about it, still they rushed home and called up the local newspaper to tell their story.
Jesus himself finally told one man to:
“Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you” Mark 5:19.
Surely his story is our story, too. We have this testimony, of what He has done and the mercy He has shown.
Our God-stories, the discoveries of how He’s been so good to us, those moments of amazing grace and unexpected mercy in the middle of the daily grind, are all meant to be shared with others.
And the miracle of Christmas is ours to tell and ours to share; it’s the hope that others need and the joy this desperate world is searching for.
So, sing it! So, tell it! Don’t let that familiar feel of your salvation, the way apathy closes us in a cozy blanket of complacency, ever let us overlook the awe of this:
God loved us so.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16
Originally posted October 19, 2012