“Live and in person” Advent devotion for December 20, 2020. Read Luke 2:15-16 and Psalm 90.
“When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger” (Luke 2:15-16).
The shepherds have heard the announcement that a Savior has been born. They’ve gotten directions on where to find him. And they have heard the praises of the armies of God. Now what? “Let’s go and see.” If the Savior has come, let’s go see him – live and in person.
In a pre-CoVid-19 world, I wouldn’t miss the chance to go and visit a mom, dad and newborn in the hospital. Don’t drag your feet, though! Mother and child might only stay a couple of days for a normal birth and perhaps one day more after a C-section. So when I heard the news of a birth, I’d hustle over to see this miracle of new life. I jump at the chance to hold the newborn, never tiring of being one of the first to welcome a new little person into the world.
I guess when you’re a shepherd, not much exciting happens on a typical night watching the sheep. Unless you’ve got a wolf to fight off or a lamb that gets lost, I imagine it to be a boring job. Not this night, though! But what a contrast. They’ve witnessed both the glory of the Lord and the humility of the Christ. Theirs was a unique view of the glory that Jesus gave up and the human form he took on. It was a visual of the journey he has just taken, from heaven to earth.
They didn’t doubt for a moment what the Lord had made known to them. Remember Zechariah? He had a tough time believing that he and Elizabeth would have a son. Mary wondered, “How will this be?” when Gabriel came to her. The shepherds jumped at the chance to be one of the first to welcome this new little person into the world.
If you grew up in the church like I did, chances are you got to play the part of a shepherd at least once in the Sunday School Christmas program. The lines are pretty simple: “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see what the angels just told us about.” It’s a story we can easily insert ourselves into. We so much want to see the baby! Just remember: because he came here, died here and came back to life here, one day you will!
Thank you, Lord, for the shepherds of the Christmas story, who just like me can’t wait to see you face to face. Amen.