The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
Today's Reading: Luke 2:20
Devo Author: Russ Dorch
Date: December 23, 2022
I’ve never stood in the middle of a flock of sheep nor even met a shepherd. My understanding of a shepherd’s difficult life in the fields outside of ancient Bethlehem is limited to exercises of theological study, not immersive experience. That said, I know what it’s like to feel unseen by the world. I know what it feels like to be convinced you just matter “less” than those around you. Growing up, I never wanted for the necessary life-sustaining things, but alcoholism had a devastating effect on our home. It tore our family irreparably apart. Being “unseen” was the safest, easiest way to deal with the pressures of that existence, but it resulted in a crippling low opinion of myself. Thankfully, even in my darkest moments, I was never hidden from the loving God who sees.
There is no explanation for me knowing Jesus other than He pursued me with His love. Through other believers, divine circumstances, His Word, and the Holy Spirit, Jesus transcended my circumstances with His grace. Even though I once questioned my worth, He redefined my worth in Him, delivering His message of hope and redemption to ME! “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1 John 3:1 NIV
I would imagine the shepherds may have questioned why they, the humblest of people, would be recipients of the extraordinary good news of the Messiah’s birth, to experience the Angelic Host singing, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” Yet the God who spoke the universe into existence, picked them to be among the first to hear the good news about Jesus. They were not unseen by the God who looks beyond outward appearances, to the heart.
Upon seeing the Christ-child with their own eyes, they were quick to spread the news of His birth. Scripture tells us they returned, presumably to their lives, “glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told” – Luke 2:20
. Matthew Henry says of the shepherds’ response: “God's good-will to men, manifested in sending the Messiah, rebounds to His praise. Other works of God are for His glory, but the redemption of the world is for His glory in the highest.” God captivated the shepherds with the Good News of the Messiah, and they rebounded with praise for His glory in the highest.
I don’t know what you are going through or how (or in whom) you define your worth, but I believe it means something extraordinary for us today that God broke a 400-year silence to the people of Israel with a message delivered to the lowest among them. You are not “unseen” by the God who made you with purpose and love (Psalm 139:13-18
). So, as you continue your celebration of Christmas, may the good news of the Messiah lead you to rebound in praise! To the God who sees you… be glory in the highest!