Shepherds and Sheep
One of my favorite parts of the nativity is the shepherds and sheep. Maybe because in the big scheme of life I identify more with the shepherd group than the wise men’s grandeur and fancy gifts. The shepherds have those cool looking sheep and I really like them. They appear to be such docile, soft, cuddly, and quiet animals. In truth however they are not always so docile as they frighten easily and are not always cooperative. Their wool gets matted with whatever they brush up against making them not so soft and certainly not cuddly because they are not very clean, and to top it off they can be rather noisy. Real sheep are not at all like the sheep in my nativity. But then again the shepherds were not really just a group of nice farmers down the road either.
Shepherds in the First Century were usually not even the owners of the sheep they kept but hired hands with not such great reputations. They certainly were not of high social status whatever their real personalities may reveal but they did play a major role in the birth of Christ.
Today we honor the shepherds because of their gratitude and thankfulness to God for including them. Their role helps us understand that God prepared a Savior not for just a few but for all people everywhere. The shepherds teach us an equally important lesson not because they went to seek and find the Christ child as the angel told them but because of what they did next.
Once the shepherds found and worshiped the Savior, they left the Christ child and returned to where they came from. They did what we all do when we leave a great worship service, they went back to work, and the things they knew. But they didn’t just go back to work and continue on with business as usual, they went back to work praising God continuously and telling everyone they met what they saw and experienced.
The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them. Luke 2:20 (NLT)
The shepherds’ lives changed by what they heard and saw but they didn’t change their career path, didn’t write a book, nor were they suddenly invited into the homes of the Ã©lite to share their story. They went back to their life as usual but they did so with great thanksgiving and adoration. Their lives changed; a conversion occurred that made them want to share and praise God continuously. They returned to the same place but they were not the same people.
This Thankful Thursday we find ourselves at just a week out from Christmas. Christmas allows us each to make our own journey to the manager to seek and find the Christ Child. It is easy to find ourselves in praise and adoration while at the manger but what happens when the Christmas celebration ends, the decorations stored away for another year, and life goes back to the same old routine? Can the praise and adoration be maintained? The shepherds teach us that yes, our lives should be changed forever once we have journeyed to the manager.
Our routine does not necessarily change but our rejoicing should be continuous. For once we have knelt before the Christ child we should be compelled to go forth not only praising God and thanking him for what He has done but we should joyously tell and share with others our experience.
The shepherds’ lives changed forever by what they heard and saw and you too can follow their example by doing 5 things once your Christmas celebration has ended.
- Remain standing in wonderful amazement of God’s love to you
- Worship Christ not just at the manager but at the cross in your daily life
- Listen carefully to the message that God has delivered and live your life in daily attendance to it.
- Go forth in faith and share the love of God with others
- Remember that Christ came for everyone, everywhere and in all circumstances our praise and adoration is to be revealed.
The lives of the shepherds changed after their journey to the manger. Take the journey to the Christ child whether the first time or millionth, hear and see things differently. Click To TweetAllow your manger experience to change your daily routine into a thankful rotation of praise and adoration for Christ, hearing and seeing the good of God all around you. Thank God like a shepherd every day.
Love in Christ,
Make the journey today to the manger and see the rebirth in yourself. Click To Tweet
If Jesus were born one thousand times in Bethlehem and not in me, then I would still be lost. Â Â Â Corrie Ten Boom
How do you continue to praise and worship Christ long after the Nativity is carefully stored away? Join us in discussion on thanking and praising Christ in adoration year around.