Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, just as it had been told to them. Luke 2:20
In this receding economy, it was just another ordinary night.
The office party dinner table has a lot of spaces to fill. The gifts given were limited. No raffle prizes drawn, not as usual. The smiles were timid. The greetings were not so warmth. The executive manager’s announcement at the start of the party unveiled the theme, “Welcome to the austerity Christmas party.”
Later that night, my wife and I spoke about our financial standing. We will go through this but not with our belts tightened. My wife practically counts her steps as she goes for Christmas shopping. She searches the best available coupon there is. She spends time more than my office hours digging into the best bargain in town.
We were about to say our “Good nights.” when my phone catches a message which reads a dear brother in Christ will soon be jobless. He has a family to feed, bills to pay and a community to serve.
The shepherds in the fields are having their just another ordinary night. Performing their job; counting the sheep, feeding their flock, protect them from attackers, trying to beat sleepiness. Until the angel showed up and asked them to show up at the manger. They left the ordinary to meet the extra-ordinary. They only knew about the ordinary when they went, they rejoiced in the extra-ordinary when they returned. They returned to the same flock with different hearts. They came back to the same fields as different shepherds. Because an extra-ordinary God came as an ordinary baby. Because an extra-ordinary Shepherd invited ordinary shepherds to his birthday.
Thus I came to the Christ who comes. I left the fields of worries. I came to the Manager of the manger. The fields I left will be the same fields when I return. Yet, I am a different shepherd since I have been in his presence of the Shepherd. Since I have been with the Living Hope, I returned with hope for the living. Since I have been with the Promise Keeper, I returned holding on to his words.
I rejoiced! Having an extra-ordinary God in a not just another ordinary night.
The angel of the Lord appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were struck with great fear. Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, just as it had been told to them. Luke 2:9, 20
They were with great fear. Not just an ordinary fear. Not some normal fear. Not a fear you usually have daily. It was a feeling of great fear.
Eleven verses after, the great fear turns into a great joy. You have to have great joy when you glorify and praise God after what you’ve been told is all true!
What happened in the middle of verses 9 and 20? The shepherds met their Shepherd. They met their Savior and Lord. They may have had great fear for they thought they will die in facing God’s angels, but meeting the Messiah gave them life. From having great fear to having great joy.
For us who have been living in fear before we have crossed paths with our Lord and Savior. For us who have woke up each morning and retired each night with inner gladness since meeting the Messiah in one way or another.
Scan into your fears. Carefully run into your worries. Afraid of your hunting past? Panic about the present? Frightened of the future? Run to Bethlehem. Return to that manger. Meet the Messiah. Again.
You can go back to your field a changed person knowing you have a Messiah who does not change. A King Shepherd who allowed himself to be born in a stable for you to know everything you’ve been told about him is true. It still rings true today. His presence, love and promises are real as what you have been told.
Who alone can turn great fear to great joy? Jesus. No one else.
Jesus said: «My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me. John 10:27
As of this writing, my country is hearing a lot of voices. Why? It’s election time.
Different people of different personalities would like to lead the nation. People with different interest and different backgrounds would like to be the shepherd of the country. They declare they are the voice of God. The proclaim they are the voice of the masses. They claim they are the voice of the poorest of the poor. They campaign they are the voice of the largely populated working class. They present themselves as the voice of the minority which likewise of the majority. The candidates advertise themselves as the voice of a new hope for a new nation. These people inform the people that they are the voice of legacy and democracy. Because we hear a lot of voices, we get confused. We have to sit down and analyze whose voice will get our vote. We have to study whose voice will we follow.
As of this writing, our hearts hear a lot of voices. Why? It’s like that all the time.
Voices which would like to lead our lives. Voices which would like to tend us along a certain path. Voices which would like to shepherd us to a specific direction. Voices which we hear all around us. Media. Internet. Church. Career. Family. Community. Friends. Spouse. Boss. Child. TV preacher. Book author. Economic instability. Wars and terrorism. Calamities around the globe. Fears. Worries. Health issues. We are drowned by these voices. We can get confused. We are being influenced by these voices. At some point, we have to choose which voice will lead us in the way we live our lives. We have to make a decision which voice will shepherd us closer to God. We have to vote a voice which will enable us to follow Jesus, the true Shepherd.
Let me suggest some tests for us to know if we are following the Shepherd’s voice:
- We follow His voice if we follow Him. Easier said than done. Yet we know His voice prevails in our hearts if we are living according to His ways.
- We hear His voice if it glorifies God. Our lives should result to magnifying the Shepherd rather than the sheep. It makes known the Shepherd not the sheep.
- We follow his voice if we get closer to the Shepherd. As the Shepherd leads the flock, He knows the sheep. As the journey continues, the sheep should know the Shepherd.
- We stick with His voice if we stick with the flock. No sheep will wander away from the flock if one hears the voice of the Shepherd. Our Shepherd searches for His lost sheep to bring them back to the flock just in case they follow other voices.
Lots of voices, we hear. Hopefully, His voice will get our vote. Always.