Published December 4, 2018 by SMBC

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks by night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.

Luke 2:8-9

One of my favorite ways to recharge is to spend time outdoors at our ranch in central Texas. As the seasons change from fall to winter, dry air occasionally descends upon us from the north in the form of a cold front. One of the great by-products of these fronts is that the amount of water vapor in the air is usually greatly reduced. That scenario, combined with a dark sky nearly untouched by light pollution, provides a crystal-clear glimpse of a beautiful natural phenomena: a full panoramic view of the Milky Way that stretches from one horizon to the other.

When the kids are in bed and the house has settled down, I will often sit outside and admire the night sky for hours at a time. I use this time to pray and to contemplate His creation. Emotions range from awe of the immense beauty, wonder at the scale of the universe, humbleness at the realization of how small I am in this vastness, and amazement at His love and sacrifice for me. When I reflect on the Christmas story, I am also grateful that we live in a period where we have the guidance of the Holy Spirit with us, and we are not having to wait for ?the glory of the Lord? to return.

As you walk through this Advent season, my hope for you is to remove the distractions that serve as clouds and light pollution in your spiritual walk. Focus on the glory of the Lord around you and celebrate both the beauty of His creation and the good news of the return of the Messiah.

Father, we thank You for sending Your Son and fulfilling Your promise. Help us to slow down and be present as we walk through Advent. Open our eyes to the beauty of Your creation and miracles You have placed around us. In Jesus' Holy name, Amen.

Jason Harper is a member of the Fellowship of Young Families Sunday school class and serves on the Operations Committee. He is married to Kaylee, and they have three children; Kiran (13), Jacob (10), and Jonathan (8).