Christmas

Shepherds Find Him

This devotional is written by Essie Laugharne. Essie is an Australian musician living in London.

Luke 2:15-20

15 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." 16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

Reflection

When I reflected on this passage, a few things jumped out at me. The first is that the shepherds were trusted to spread the word of God, and they did so without hesitation. After the angels had left them they believed the angels and went out to Bethlehem to find Jesus. When they had seen him, they spread the word! The shepherds were the first to see Jesus, and I think it no coincidence that Jesus refers to himself later in his life as the Good Shepherd. The concept of Jesus caring for us, leaving the 99 sheep to go after the 1, it's there right from the beginning of his life. A profound connection with shepherds, from birth to the cross. Although there is debate as to whether shepherds were seen as outcasts at this time in Jewish history, it is agreed that they were certainly lower class citizens. I love that we serve a God so radically counter-cultural as to send the poor to be first witness to the birth of Jesus. For the King of King's that is Jesus to be born in a stable, amongst the muck and the mire, and that it is not the rich who are first in line to meet him.

This passage also contains one of my favourite Christmas verses, "But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart."-v19. I love that Mary had the wisdom to store up these incredible moments of witness, to hold deep within in her the evidence and experience of God fulfilling the promise God made to her. I wonder if she went into this treasure trove of God's faithfulness when at the foot of the cross, watching Jesus, wondering how this could all be part of the plan. She reminds me how important it is to store up the moments of joy, of God's faithfulness, of heaven breaking through into my life, so that I can reflect on them and ponder them later, when times may not be so joyous. I know that this Christmas, my first Christmas away from my parents due to Covid, I will be drawing upon my joyous reserves of blessings and wonder from years gone by. Lord Jesus, thank you that you are the Good Shepherd. That you humbled yourself so that the last shall be first, and that you set a place for ALL of us at your table. May we have wisdom, like Mary did, to treasure in our hearts the ways that you are faithful to us, so that we may also remember them in times of trouble. Amen.

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