The Christmas Shepherds

The Christmas Shepherds

The dynamics of the Christmas story are quite elaborate. Each year as I ponder the events, my heart seems to see more than the year before. We only know a small part of the tale, so often I sit with God and allow my mind to wander. This is one of my wanderings:

There are three main roles in the story, not including Jesus himself. There are the parents, Mary and Joseph; the wise men, who brought gifts; and the shepherds, who were the first to welcome Jesus. We know from the story that the wise men come and bring gifts to Jesus. Then before returning to Herod, as they had promised, they have an encounter with an angel who tells them to go home a different way. We also know that after seeing the miracle of Jesus’ birth and the gifts from the wise men, Joseph has an encounter with an angel. Joseph is warned not to stay but to go instead to Egypt because Herod was seeking the Messiah to kill him. In both instances, they welcomed Jesus and then received vision and direction from angelic hosts. They knew the next step because it was clearly placed before them.

What happened to the shepherds?? Well, in the story of the birth of Christ, the shepherds were the first ones to come and welcome Jesus. They are a fundamental part of the Christmas story. In nativity scenes, they are usually right next to Mary and Joseph with the sheep close by….but where did they go after that? I would like to suggest that after meeting the King of Kings, instead of going and changing the world….they went back to the fields and did the same thing they were doing before. We never hear of them again. I’m sure the stories of what God showed them and how they met Jesus face to face were passed down for generations. I bet they remembered that moment with awe, but if you come face to face with the Christ, wouldn’t that change your direction?

I don’t want to be like the shepherds. I want my everything to be altered by my face to face encounters with God. Lord my prayer is this: As I encounter You, let the love that I see in your face cause me to take it to the ends of the world. Let me not go back to my own hill and hide.

God does not bless us with His presence just for us and ours. It wasn’t meant to be something to just pass down as “stories” to our children and our children’s children. He gives us His presence so that we can give it away!!!

I pray this Christmas that His Presence will truly be your biggest and best present!