December 17, 2018

Advent 2018 - The Shepherds (Take Two)

Devotion for the Week...

So far this Advent season, we've looked at the innkeeper and Herod. For this, the third week of Advent, I'm revisiting the shepherds for another look at their part in the Christmas story. I first wrote about the shepherds back in 2016 and I've shared links to that devotion a bunch of times lately because it's probably my favourite of all the many devotions I've written over the past 5+ years. But I think there's another aspect of their story that I didn't notice two years ago, so this is take two on the shepherds.

I won't quote the entire passage here, because it's a bit long, but here's the short version: the shepherds were working out in the field at night when they were visited by an angel who told them that the Messiah had been born and they should go to find Him. "They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished, but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often" (Luke 2:16-19).

'All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished.' I bet they were! What a crazy sounding story those shepherds were telling. And, as I shared back in 2016, shepherds then were not considered to be very reliable. In fact, they were thought to be so untrustworthy that they weren't allowed to testify in court!

The shepherds knew they might not be believed. They knew their reputation, after all. But that didn't stop them from telling everyone they encountered what they had seen and heard. In fact, it sounds to me like the story was practically bubbling up out of the shepherds who couldn't contain their excitement and amazement. They just couldn't stop talking about what had happened and it didn't really matter to them whether people believed them or not.

The thing is, it wasn't the shepherds' job to make people believe their story. They were sent to see Baby Jesus for themselves, but there's no mention of the angel telling them to share the story after they found the baby.

Of course, God knew that after being visited by angels and then finding the baby, just as the angel said they would, they wouldn't be able to keep from telling people about it. Those shepherds probably told that story for the rest of their lives, don't you think? Wouldn't you?

How many people heard that the Messiah had been born that night? Did any of them believe it? Did any of them then hear stories of Jesus when He was an adult and make the connection to the story the shepherds told so many years before? The shepherds never knew the answers to those questions, but that didn't matter. The results weren't up to them. They just kept telling their story.
Advent devotions |
My question for us is, are we telling the stories of what God has done in our lives or are we too worried about whether or not people will believe us? Just as with the shepherds, we're not responsible for whether or not people believe in God because of the stories we share. We simply share what God has done for us and leave the results to Him.

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