Posted in 2021 Advent devotions

The shepherds return

“The Road to Bethlehem” Advent devotion for December 18, 2021. Photo by Joseph Chan on Unsplash

And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them. (Luke 2:20)

The road to Bethlehem now runs in the other direction. After the shepherds go to see Mary, Joseph and the baby lying in a manger, they retrace their steps back to the fields. Their conversation is now filled with thanks and praise for everything they have just seen. From the angels to the holy family, it has been quite a night.

Every trip to church is followed by a trip back home. After every worship experience we retrace our steps, back into whatever world we just came from. Some travel alone. Some need a van to hold everyone. But we never return empty handed.

With hearts and souls filled with the gifts of God’s grace, we return with stories to tell, a clear conscience, restored hope, and maybe a new challenge to pursue. We’ve shared a space with expectant mothers, fussy babies, praying (and playing) toddlers, talented musicians, and aging saints. We heard a familiar passage, learned something new, jotted down an idea, furrowed our brow, and chuckled to ourselves. We’ve heard beautiful music, seen the colors of the season, embraced a long-time friend, smelled fresh flowers, and tasted that the Lord is good.

Jesus invited some to drop what they were doing and follow him. He then released those followers, telling them to go. As they went they couldn’t help but talk about what they had seen and heard. Just like the shepherds, we come to see and then we go to tell.

I’ll bet the shepherds talked about that night for a long, long time. And I’ll bet some got tired of hearing that story over and over again. But we’re still listening to their story to this very day. We never tire of it. We repeat it, sing about it, and act it out. We join them on the road to Bethlehem, along with so many others, glorifying and praising God for all that they had seen and heard that night.

Thank you, Lord, for the chance to come and see, and then go and tell. I never get tired of the story. Amen.

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