January 1, 2021
And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
What was it like to actually be there during the events of the Bible? I like to wonder about that.
In today’s passage, picture yourself as one of the shepherds returning from seeing the newborn Jesus. What a night they’ve had! They were out in the pasture with the sheep, minding their own business, when out of nowhere angels appeared proclaiming the birth of the Christ. Following the angels’ instructions, they hastened to Bethlehem and found all that had been told them. A newborn lying in a manger, just like the angels said!
What did they talk about with Mary and Joseph? Did they compare notes about the angels they’d all seen? Who else did the shepherds interact with? What kinds of excited conversations did they have? The long-awaited Messiah had been born that very day, and God chose to tell them about it! “We’re just a bunch of shepherds…” they must have thought. “Who are we to receive this kind of news?” Imagine their exhilaration, their elation! God is not distant after all. He is right here, today, doing wonderful things amongst us. How wonderful! What joy! God has not forgotten us!
That’s how I picture the shepherds as they “returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen.” What a sense of wonder and comfort they must have felt. Jesus was born! The Messiah was with them.
And so He is with you! He is with you today, just as He was with the shepherds 2,000 years ago. And as this new year begins, He will walk beside you through all the challenges, the turmoils, the laughter and the tears that await you. He is Immanuel, God with us.
Do you really believe God will be with you this year? Do you really know your Savior is here, today, watching over you, walking by your side, as ever-present with you as He was in the manger? As you step forward into this new year, ask God to give you a renewed sense of His presence, His goodness and His deep love for you.