December 24, Thursday

Luke 2:8-15 (NRSV)

In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.”

There is a posture which inspires me: little children standing on tip-toe, leaning forward ever so slightly, trying to see or reach something. Regardless of the outcome, I find myself smiling at their posture. It implies desire, hope, effort, and joy. Most certainly they would not go to the effort to balance precariously on those tiny toes if they were not earnestly seeking or reaching. Often their mission takes a bit of time and persistence. They can get weary in the effort, lose their balance, forget the purpose, or completely lose interest. Whether they accomplish their mission or not, hurray for the effort!

I have realized I don’t assume that posture much anymore; rarely putting myself in a position to get off-balance, seldom sticking with a challenge long enough to see the reward, or experiencing the joy that’s sure to come with an unexpected discovery. In our gospel passage today, the shepherds were doing exactly what they did everyday – tend to sheep. There was no seeking, reaching, tip-toe balancing, or sense that there was really anything to find. Until…an angel. All of a sudden their lives became filled with hope, renewed energy, and a desire to find. “Let us go now…and see” was their response. We’re not told what happens to their sheep, but we can see their enthusiasm and determination. They were willing to risk finding the Promised One.

Are we ready to stand slightly off-balance, lean forward and peer into the manger? What will be our reward? What are we willing to leave behind in order to find something greater? May we assume the posture, which implies desire, hope, effort and joy!  “Let us go now…and see.”

Reflection
What are some ways you can step outside of your normal pace and put yourself in a position to find God?

Prayer
God, place within our hearts and spirits an earnest desire to seek You out. Help us to not be afraid to risk our comfort and the known, for the journey and what we will find. May we lean into You in these days and discover all that You have promised. Amen.

 

By Jana Wolfe, CBFAR Coordinating Council member
Minister of Music, First Baptist Church, Jonesboro

 

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