Religion & Spirituality:Christianity
Sunday, January 1st, 2023 - Shepherds
The shepherds went in haste to Bethlehem and found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known the message that had been told them about this child. All who heard it were amazed by what had been told them by the shepherds. And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart. Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, just as it had been told to them. When eight days were completed for his circumcision, he was named Jesus, the name given him by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.
We begin the new year by reflecting on the shepherds adoring the Messiah. The beginning of a spiritual revolution to renew the world takes place in a stable of all places, with a newborn in a manger surrounded by shepherds. Like the shepherds, we are invited into the mystery of God’s entrance into the world. This new year can be a time of transformation if we take this reality into our hearts—pondering it in prayer, telling it to others, and living it out.
As the shepherds were watching over their sheep at night, an angel appeared to them saying, “I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people; for to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger” (Luke 2:10-12). These humble shepherds received this magnificent proclamation. The whole nation had been awaiting the return of the messiah-king from the Davidic dynasty for centuries. Now the Messiah, the long-awaited Messiah, God’s anointed, was coming to reclaim the throne.
We approach the manger with the simple, humble shepherds who are called to witness this incredible event. You can imagine how intrigued the shepherds would have been to see the Messiah. Wouldn’t they have expected the Messiah to be born in wealth and power? Instead, they found Jesus lying in a manger, just as the angels had described. Excited, they explained everything from the message to Mary and Joseph who were amazed to see how God’s plan was unfolding. Here were shepherds, simple men, among the first to witness the glory of God in Jesus Christ. We, like the shepherds, should seek out baby Jesus.
We can imitate the shepherds as we prepare to begin an Exodus on January 9th. One way to do this is by committing to a daily holy hour of prayer, during which we can adore the Lord and ponder the mysteries of our faith. Like the shepherds, we can rest from the grind of life to seek out the Savior. He can lead us into deeper freedom if we listen to his voice calling us, like angels called the shepherds, to “Come and see.” And that’s the invitation for you and me - come and see – to spend time with Jesus, the Savior, every day.
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