December 21st 2020 – The Shepherd’s Return

The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told. — Luke 2:20

The fear that had filled the shepherds at the sight of these angelic beings with their strange words and their awesome praise and worship was replaced by an inescapable joy…why? Because everything they saw and heard was “just as they had been told.”

I remember the first time we took our son to Disney World. His grandparents had taken us as a family, along with my brother and his kids a couple of years earlier and my son was so young that his favorite part was the ducks and grassy areas at the parks. He was too young to really appreciate it. But when we thought he was old enough, we took him for his real first-time experience, and we had been hyping it up for weeks! My wife and I have so many fond memories of our times getting to go there when we were younger that we wanted to share that with our son. So, we told him about all the cool things we loved about Disney.

So, imagine his surprise when he arrived and the first ride we took him on was Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. I’d forgotten how well it mimicked a rickety old mine car! It shook us (rather violently), it whirled us, it thrilled us as adults (who had ridden it before)…but for our young son, it was too much. The whole experience was not like we said…where was the magic, and excitement with the throngs of people all around? Where was the fun rides watching stories as you went on gentle rides? What we had told him and what he experienced didn’t line up…and for a moment, there wasn’t much joy. So, we let him catch up a bit. We began to show him slowly other things that were more in line with what we had told him…we rode the People Mover, which slowly carries you around and lets you see different areas of the park above the fray of people, and no violent shaking involved! (It’s no wonder why the People Mover is actually still my sons favorite ride at Disney!) My sons joy returned as what we said before began to line up with his experience.

Now imagine the shepherds having this amazing experience with the angelic host…and then arriving in Bethlehem to see for themselves whether or not this was true. They see this baby “wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger,” — who puts their baby in an animal food trough? Only God has arranged this…if this is true, then it must also be true that “today a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.” There really is a Savior! The Messiah has arrived! What joy must have filled their hearts! That’s why they glorified and praised “God for all the things they had heard and seen.” Because what they were told lined up with their experience.

Be reminded today that God has told us many things in His Word. And those things are true, and they are happening just as He said they would. Your experience may not quite line up at this moment…maybe someone told you something, kind of like I told my son, and it did not pan out initially. But remember that God is faithful in ALL He does, and it will turn out for Joy when what He says and what you experience come into alignment. The Joy is coming.

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