The Christmas story is all about telling the story. An angel appeared to shepherds keeping watch over their sheep by night. Luke records what the angel said, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:10-11
After going to Bethlehem to see the thing the Lord had made known to them, the shepherds, in turn, tell others. Luke says, “all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them.” Luke 2:18
The Apostle Paul makes a plea for the whole world, that all people might hear the story. Then he asks, “How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!’” Romans 10:14-15
The text Paul quotes is from the prophet Isaiah. In full it reads,
“How beautiful upon the mountains
are the feet of him who brings good news,
who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness,
who publishes salvation,
who says to Zion, ‘Your God reigns.’” Isaiah 52:7
So, we go and tell the story – on the mountains, over the hills and everywhere. This story telling, this good news announcing, is something for all of us to do. We have a story to tell at work and at home, on the school campus and in the neighborhood. It is a story to be told in word and in deed.
This past Sunday, there was some good telling of this good story at LPC. In the morning our Chancel Choir presented a Christmas cantata. Everyone loved it. Some people had invited friends and family members to join us and to hear the story as told by the choir. On Sunday afternoon one of our guests visited our LPC Facebook page. She rated us five stars out of five and wrote, “Very nice cantata today…Extremely nice people…” Did our guest hear good news of great joy, news of the birth of the savior, and if she did hear it, was it for the first time or the tenth time? I don’t know, but I do know that the story was clearly told. I do know that when you’re with extremely nice people you tend to pay attention.
On Sunday evening, the LPC family gathered again for a wonderful fellowship meal and then about 45 of us made their way through the neighborhood around the church telling the story with familiar carols (full disclosure, I did not join the carolers due to other commitments and a frog in my throat).
Monday morning I woke up to an email in my inbox. It was from a woman in another state. She had been talking in recent weeks with her sister in Langhorne and urging her to go to church this Christmas season. “We really ought to,” the Langhorne sister had said. Then, Sunday night, some carolers from the church around the corner, from LPC, filled the street where the Langhorne sister lives with songs of a silent night and of joy to the world. The sister in Langhorne asked her sister in the other state if she had arranged all this. This sister in the other state wonders if maybe God had arranged all this. I don’t know. I do know that the story was faithfully told by those LPC carolers.
This coming Thursday evening (4, 7, 10!) we expect 700 or more people to be at LPC for worship. We’ll tell the story in carol and by proclamation. We will enact the story at the Table, and as we share light in a dark world. And then we will go into the world – over the hills and everywhere – to tell the story that Jesus Christ is born.
For those of you who will be with us on Thursday evening, be sure to welcome the stranger next to you. Who knows, maybe it will be someone who heard the cantata last Sunday and came back to hear more of the story or just to be with some extremely nice people. Maybe it will be someone who heard some carolers telling the story last Sunday evening out on the street where she lives. Maybe it will be someone who is there and they don’t exactly why, but they know they need to be there.
In word and in deed, we tell the story – on the mountain, over the hills and everywhere.