I talked about our friends the shepherds in my last post. They weren’t popular or prestigious. But they were faithful and devoted.
To the point that they were outside at night, taking care of their sheep. And this certainly wasn’t a one-time occurrence. Oh no, they were out there almost every night.
It was probably cold.
It was undoubtedly uncomfortable.
It was far less than ideal.
But they took their job seriously. And they loved their sheep. Even when the sheep were aggravating and stubborn and foolish…as sheep often are.
So what happened when the curtains closed on the shepherds’ private concert in the heavenlies?
They resumed their job, right?
Turned back to the fields that consumed so much of their time and attention?
Took a quick count to make sure none of their precious sheep wandered off while they were busy listening to angels sing?
Surely they at least left a couple of guys in charge before they ran to check out the angels’ story for themselves?
No. From all indications, they dropped everything and ran to see Him. They completely disregarded the entire reason they were out there in the first place. No more thoughts of sheep. Not another glimpse at the fields. I bet they even raced to see who would get there first. Can’t you just picture it?
You see, when we truly believe there’s a likelihood of a divine encounter, we do whatever we have to do to make sure we’re there for it. Because who wants to miss out on THAT?!
And then what did those shepherds do? After they had seen Him for themselves and verified the angels’ story (though I’m not sure how much verification is necessary when you get the story from a multitude of angels…), they “made known abroad” this good news. This news was too good to keep to themselves.
They wanted everyone to know about their divine encounter. It seems they were so excited, they couldn’t help but tell everyone they met. And I also suspect they wanted others to experience it, too. Though we only read about shepherds coming to the scene of the tiny King’s birth, I can’t help but wonder if they were just the first of many to arrive on the scene, eager to welcome the tiny Savior to the world.
Their behavior is understandable, isn’t it? We would all behave the same way if we could experience a divine encounter, right? We would drop everything and not let anything get in our way. And then we would excitedly tell everyone about it, so they could share our joy and then experience it for themselves.
Is it possible we’ve neglected that the Spirit of God in us is the same One who came as baby Emmanuel, God with us?
Might we have overlooked that the angels’ announcement of “good news of great joy to all people” is talking about YOU and ME and how a Savior was born so that we could encounter the divine now and forevermore?
All too often, I’m afraid we’re not expecting a divine encounter at all.
When we pick up our Bibles, it’s just…reading.
When we pray, it’s just…talking.
When our bodies are still and our hearts are meditating on the Lord, we’re just…resting.
When we hear that still, small voice guiding us in the right path, we’re just…thinking.
Because like our friends the shepherds, if we were really encountering the divine, wouldn’t we be more excited about experiencing it?
Wouldn’t we be more deliberate about pursuing it?
And wouldn’t we be more eager to share it?
Written by Jennifer Clarke