The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
Every year I try to hold on to Christmas for a little while longer. But it never seems to work. Christmas carols just don’t sound the same on the Sunday after Christmas. Even when that Sunday is only two days later, we are already returning to an after-Christmas mode.
Luke tells us that the shepherds returned after they had seen the baby lying in the manger. That makes sense. The shepherds could not stay in Bethlehem. There were sheep that needed watching. But if they could not stay in Bethlehem, Jesus could not either. When Luke tells us that Mary treasured these things and “pondered them in her heart,” he signals that Christ’s birth was only the beginning. There is much more to the story than what the shepherds saw and heard.
Though we cannot stay at the manger, there are ways we can hold on to Christmas. When we are called back to the tasks we have been given, we can join Mary in pondering and seeking to grow in our understanding. We can also join with the shepherds, who spread the good news about all they had heard and seen. Though the shepherds returned to their fields, nothing would ever really be the same.
Gracious God who brought good news to the shepherds, fill us with your good news in such a way that we may praise and glorify you in everything we do. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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