New Living Translation (NLT)
12And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”13 Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.” 15 When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” 16 They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. 17 After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. 18 All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished, 19 but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often. 20 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.
Tonight I feel as though I was visiting with shepherds. Truly these fit into the Christmas scene and are one of my favorite parts of the whole story because I can totally identify with them. As you read the story of the birth of Jesus you can feel the excitement arising in the shepherds as they witness the angels singing and the realization that God has given to the world what He has promised them: A Savior. As they begin to rejoice can you imagine the journey from the fields to the manger? I can see it as if I am amongst them. I am a leader type person and I would just be talking about this baby the whole way there and back!
At a local church there was an illusion show and a concert this evening and my heart opened up again to the possibility of Christmas. Tonight for the first time since I began writing this blog, I am beginning to feel the Christmas Spirit creeping in. Though I had a tough day with most of it being spent in hospitals caring for those important people in my life, I began to see the goodness in God as this concert unfolded. 33 Miles and Harris III put on a spectacular show for those who were there, however God started letting me see past the music and magic. He spoke through the musicians and illusionist who in the midst of performing, showed how they felt about Christmas. When the lead singer began to share in almost exactness the points of my blog, I understood that I was not the only one with these feelings of how far off base we are from the real meaning of Christmas.
For a few moments tonight I felt as if I was witnessing the shepherds retelling the wonderful story of the birth of Jesus. As they spoke I began to get this tingle again in my heart and my hope began to rise. I knew God was poking at me to wake up and see I was on the right track, yet He wondered why I did not feel the joy of the season. Like someone tonight said in this month of Christmas people are more giving, should we not be like this in all the other months of the year? Christmas should be a year around gesture, not just for a season. We learn from our blessings, we receive…the more we give the more we get in return. Now I am not talking about money or extravagant gifts, I am speaking about the more we give with our hearts instead of our wallets, the more God can bless us.
So tonight I give thanks for the many who are current shepherds for Jesus. I am grateful for those who can still be excited about the birth and have a hard time containing their joy. I truly believe in the magic of Christmas as it has this way of capturing the hearts of those who witness it. I am praying for all who seek something which is void in their life that they stumble upon a true shepherd, someone who can speak life into the Spirit of Christmas again. One who knows why all of this came upon a midnight clear to begin with. A shepherd who is so focused on the baby in the manger that the rest of the world begins to slowly fade away.