And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
The shepherds were never the same after they heard the angels’ song and witnessed the baby lying in a manger. Christmas should do that to us too. Celebrating it again, being face-to-face with what it means—it should change us. Not just for a short season, but forever.
Thankfully, though, that doesn’t mean it’s up to us to change ourselves.
Perhaps you hear someone speak about being different because of what Christ has done for us, and you take it as a challenge. You, too, believe you should be different because of it, so you add it to your list. You’re going to work at this. You’re going to get this right. (Some of us are wired to think this way.)
But here’s what I find so sweet about what God did for the shepherds. He put faith in their hearts to continue believing what they’d just seen. This was God’s work—everything that had happened leading up to the angels’ song. And it would be His work to keep changing the shepherds’ hearts after the angels had gone away and they couldn’t hear them anymore, just as it is His work to keep changing us after we’ve opened all the gifts and put the decorations away.
Look at what happened to the shepherds after the angel’s announcement: “They went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child” (vv. 16–17). They couldn’t keep it to themselves. God chose these lowly, unknown shepherds not only to be the first to hear this wonderful news, but also the first to share it with others.
We can expect that in our own after-Christmas lives as well. As we seek Him and ask Him to change us, He will give us opportunities to tell of this baby, this Savior, born for our salvation. As we tell it, our own faith will increase. In the process, we will be changed. And we will become instruments God uses to change others’ lives as well.
“All who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them” (v. 18). It is not our job to convince people about the truth of what God has done for us (and for them) through Christ. Our job is only to keep celebrating and sharing the good news of His coming and His redemption. And He will cause others to marvel as we talk about what matters to us.
“And the shepherds returned”—because, yes, they had to get back to work. As do we. They couldn’t remain in that mountaintop experience where they’d seen the glory of God in full technicolor display, any more than we can keep it Christmas beyond the stroke of midnight tonight. But they came back different. They came back “glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen.”
Christmas marked the rest of their lives, because God had made them forever worshipers and evangelists, sharing the good news that had been shared with them.
May He do the same with us.
O Lord, we praise You, we glorify You, we exalt You, we worship You! For to us has been born in Bethlehem a Savior, Christ the Lord—our Jesus, our hope of glory. Do something new and different in me, Lord, because of how You’ve spoken to me throughout this season. I seek You and surrender myself to You. I ask You to make me never the same—because of Christmas.
“Open my lips,
and my mouth will declare your praise.” (v. 15)
“Make known his deeds among the peoples.” (v. 4)
2 Corinthians 3:12–18
“Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” (v. 17)
Try finding a worshipful, private moment at some point today where you can write out a prayer expressing your desire to glorify Christ to all those around you. And remember, it’s not about you and what you can do to serve Him. It’s all about Him—what He can do.
by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth
Let the songs of the first Christmas turn your heart toward God’s glory. During the holidays the musical tunes of the season are...
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