This may be my busiest Christmas season ever.
Because my husband has clients out of town, we’ve been traveling to places like Toronto and Austin for company Christmas parties. Meanwhile, our family is coming in the week before Christmas this year, rather than the week after, so I have been up late wrapping gifts, putting the house in order, and planning the week’s activities. My son in college also brought home a semester’s worth of laundry that I’ve been wading through, but that’s another story.
Every year when I border on exhaustion I think, Is this how we are supposed to celebrate the birth of the Savior of the world?
But this week I found something I’ve never seen in one of the biblical accounts of Jesus’s birth in Luke. It holds a message that I believe we can put into practice this Christmas.
Remember the shepherds who learned about Christ’s birth through an angelic visit? After hearing the news they, “with haste,” located Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus lying in the manger. After they saw the Christ child with their own eyes, scripture says they made it widely known about their visit and about what the angel told them concerning Jesus: “I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you in this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:10–11).
Here’s the part I’d never seen.
After the shepherds left in a frenzy and enthusiastically filled people in about their experience, they slowed down and returned to the manger. Luke 2:20 says, “Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they’ve heard and seen, as it was told to them.”
Why didn’t they praise God on their first visit?
Were they too caught up in the excitement of the moment?
Did they need time for it all to register?
This child lying before them was the Savior of the world. Maybe it was too much to take in in one sitting. But when it hit them about the magnitude of what they witnessed, they returned to do what they probably should have done in the beginning.
After reading this, I wondered, What if we returned?
What if we returned after all our frenzy of preparing for Christmas?
What if we returned after the presents are wrapped, after the meal is cooked—after everyone is in route to their respective homes?
What if, like the shepherds, we returned, with no agenda but to praise God for the birth of His Son, and spend some time worshipping Him?
When Christmas is “over” we often hastily put the décor away, clean the house, and move on to plans for the New Year. Consider changing it up this year. Let’s take a moment, an hour, maybe even a day, to return, and thank God for allowing his Son to be born into this world.
It’s never too late to do what we should have done in the first place.
Categories: Devotion of the Week