This is a post I shared last year at this time. I liked it and decided to use it again. I hope it blesses you!
“When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another ‘Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.'” (Luke 2:15)
Yesterday I spent some time with some 4 and 5 year olds at work. As part of our lesson, and being the season that it is, I was to tell the Christmas story. Since they are little ones and need a visual, I used the play manger to help tell the story. We gathered all of the pieces and brought it over to the area where we were telling the story. Quickly, we noticed that some pieces were missing. We noticed that Joseph and Jesus were missing. Joseph was easily replaced with a shepherd, but we had nothing to replace Jesus. We tried to pretend that Jesus was there, but it just wasn’t working. They kept interrupting the story asking where Jesus was. I mean really, we can’t have a Christmas story without baby Jesus. It was very distracting and a smidge frustrating for me as I tried to move on but all they seemed to focus on was the fact that Jesus was absent.
I thought about that this morning when I read the shepherd’s actions in Luke. Here they were minding their own business, watching sheep and an angel comes to them. I think it’s funny that they automatically become afraid. I’m sure that every sin they had ever committed came to mind when they saw the angel. They probably figured that their time was up. This was it. They were going to get it. But instead, they are told to calm down and not be afraid. The angel came with some good news. He came to proclaim the birth of Jesus. He was letting them in on the birth of their Savior. It certainly wasn’t a secret. It had been foretold. But what an honor for them to have the privilege of seeing Jesus and recognizing who He was before anyone else. And so it says that they went to see Jesus.
Just like those little ones who couldn’t continue on with the story without the baby, the shepherds ran to find Jesus. They left their sheep and went to find Him. Jesus was the most important part of the story and they knew it. They had to find Him. They had to see the Messiah. And so, they left everything and went to Him. I don’t know how much time passed as they pondered the idea of going to see Jesus. It doesn’t say. But it does say that they talked about it and decided together. Sometimes it’s easier to step out in faith when others are doing it with you. They couldn’t live life as usual after what they had seen. They couldn’t push aside the experience they had. They knew that they were chosen for a purpose and there was a reason the angel came to them.
Yesterday, after some time, we found our baby Jesus. He was among the other toys, and one little girl spotted Him. And so we grabbed baby Jesus and put Him in our manger. There was a peace and a satisfaction. Everything was where it should be. Jesus was found and put where He belonged. This got me thinking about my life. There are times when Jesus seems absent. There are times when I wonder where He is. There are times I don’t feel His presence or hear His voice. And just like those little children who couldn’t continue on with the story, life is just not right until I find Him again. It’s like the shepherds who couldn’t just go back to work, they had to find Jesus. The whole reason for our story is Jesus. He puts purpose into our lives. He makes all the difference in the world. And when He is missing, we notice.
Thank you Lord that you are always close by and we only need to call out your name and listen for your voice to know your presence.