Sunday

30 December 2007

"The shepherds went... (v.16) The shepherds found... (v.16) The shepherds returned". (v.20)

Background

The shepherds went with haste - the first Christmas rush! If the 'Shepherds Fields' near Bethlehem that are shown to tourists are the genuine article, then the shepherds would have travelled a distance of some three miles.

'They went with haste and found …' - the verb 'found' in New Testament Greek means "after a search". There would have been many mangers in Bethlehem and presumably the shepherds had no star to guide them! Did they find what they expected? The child lying in the manger was certainly there but the angel and the multitude of the heavenly host were not to be heard now for this birth was both uniquely special and entirely ordinary.

But all who heard the shepherds' story were amazed because it rang true with all they had already experienced.

The shepherds returned glorifying and praising God and took the place of the angels in making known all they had seen and heard. They went back to the same old job but in themselves everything was different.

To Ponder

'Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart.' (v.19) What in all the 'Christmas words' you've heard during the past few days have caused you to stop and think in a fresh way?

In what ways does God come today? How have you experienced God in both the special and the ordinary?

As you return to your home or your place of work in the next few days what might be different in the light of this story?

Bible notes author: Revd Leo Osborn

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