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.”
So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise the child, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he was conceived.
As a child, no moment in the year could hold a candle to Christmas morning. In my boyhood home, the elves would busy themselves as soon as my brother and I went to bed. Mom and Dad would arrange the gifts, some wrapped under the tree, some stuffed into stockings hung merrily from the mantel. In the magical morning, I would wake with one thought in my mind, echoing the shepherd’s excitement: “Let’s go and see this thing that has happened!” For me, the thing was Christmas presents and a day of happiness. For the shepherds, it was the true reason for joy at Christmas. They didn’t run off to a decorated tree surrounded by gifts. They hurried to find the baby born to save the world.
I hope the excitement and joy of Christmas has not faded too much from your heart through the years. Kids know how to enjoy the season, with all its wonder and fun. As adults, we may let the season’s busyness and life’s stressfulness get in the way of rejoicing in our Savior’s birth. Remember the shepherds, hurrying off to Bethlehem. Remember the amazement of those who heard their story. Remember Mary who treasured up in her heart all that had happened. Our joy on Christmas morning shouldn’t arise from gifts or decorations or special meals shared with loved ones. Those things are nice, but they point to something far, far better. They remind us what the shepherds hurried off to see.
They found Mary, Joseph and the newborn child, lying in a manger. They found God’s great gift of grace. They found the fulfillment of a multitude of prophecies and promises. They found the King and the Savior. We have found the Savior too, and He is the reason we rejoice at Christmas. May God bless you this day, and may you share with those you love the good news of Jesus.
God of Love, thank You for sending Jesus to be my Savior and for filling my heart with joy. Send me, like the shepherds who spread the word about Jesus’ birth, to share Your love and message with people in need. I pray in the name of Jesus my Savior. Amen.
I hope you have enjoyed these Advent devotions. In mid-January, I will begin a new series of devotions based on John’s first epistle.
Pastor Mike Mirakian