The Shepherd’s Witness ~ Judy Sorensen

It was the night of the first ever Christmas. A bright light accompanied singing as bright and exciting as itself. The light and singing startled a cluster of shepherds resting around their fire on the Bethlehem hillside.
 
Frightened and clutching at each other’s coats, the shepherds relaxed to hear comforting words from the chief angel: “Don’t be afraid! The Savior, the Messiah of God, is born in Bethlehem and at this very moment is lying wrapped in swaddling cloths in a manger.” It sounded like an invitation.
 
“Let’s go!” slipped from the excited lips of several shepherds. “Emanuel has come to Bethlehem, and He is lying in a manger!”
 
There could have been a shepherd who was too fearful, too skeptical, too proud, too apathetic, too self-absorbed, too preoccupied with his career to walk out of the darkness of his own understanding and into the light of God’s great grace. There could have been one who sat close to the fire, saw the light on other faces, heard angel wings strum with the music and, nevertheless, chose to shiver at his own fire ring, to stumble within shadows of his own making. To such people, the holy God says, “Watch out, you who live in your own light and warm yourselves by your own fires” (Isaiah 50:11, New Living Translation).
 
Blessed were those shepherds who accepted the divine invitation to witness God in the flesh. As they returned to their sheep through the wakening town of Bethlehem, they became the first witnesses of the Messiah’s earthly arrival. About them it could be said, “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news that the God of Israel reigns!” (Isaiah 52:7)
 
Everyday since then, there are others who choose God’s light and fire. For these, Emanuel is as near as their breath, and they will live with Him forever in His heavenly home.
Father God,
Thank you for inviting me, ______________ (insert your name) to live in the light of your Son, Jesus. May I be faithful until the day I walk into your presence.
Amen.

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