This month I have been following the “Write His Word” for my devotions each day. This allows for a small passage (4-5 verses) of the Christmas story to be copied by my own hand. In doing so, I have had some fresh perspectives on the Story. In another post I’ll share some thoughts on Mary’s Magnificat, but for today the Shepherds have my attention.
At our Christmas Eve service our pastor reminded us that the Shepherds were the ‘low life” of the society. They were in the field all day tending to dirty, smelly and dumb sheep They weren’t the kind of people who were first on anyone’s guest list.
But still, even knowing that, I want to be like the Shepherds. Here’s why:
- They were first responders, but not to an emergency or crisis. In fact, before they even responded, they were one of the first to hear from the Angel the announcement of the good news of Jesus’ birth. Once the angel assured them they need not be frightened these people, who were considered simple and low class, hurried to see what the angel told them. It’s interesting that they didn’t wait for verification, or even to hear that those considered more socially acceptable followed. They heard the good news, didn’t doubt (at least from what we have to read) and they responded. I love this. I want to be so quick to respond to God’s messages to me. I also find joy because I’ve seen this same response in my friends who have cognitive impairments are by some are considered “no-ones” in society.
- When they arrived at the scene and saw it was all true they “told everyone what happened and what the angel said to them about this child. ” (Luke 2:17) EVERYONE – not just other shepherds who likely would listen to a peer, but it sounds to me like they spread the good news to everyone they encountered. Lord, may I follow their example!
- We’re told that Mary treasured and pondered all she had heard. How delightful it must have been for Mary to receive confirmation that these Shepherds were reinforcing what she herself heard from Gabriel.
- After a personal encounter with Jesus they went back to work – they returned to the flocks. But they did not go back the same way they came; I am not talking about routes, but rather their heart attitude and response. Luke 2:20 tells us that they returned glorifying and praising God for all they had seen and heard. Worship of the baby, the Savior, the King changes us. While worship is a round the clock activity of a believer, the times we set apart for worship lead us back to our daily activities with a renewed sense of God’s glory and presence.
I am not really in the market to start working the fields and tend sheep, but I will be happy to emulate these shepherds. It’s still true – a personal encounter with Jesus changes live today!