They Returned Home

Luke 2:8-20 (ESV)  – And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.  [9] And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear.  [10] And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy that will be for all the people.  [11] For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.  [12] And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”  [13] And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
[14] “Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
[15] When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.”  [16] And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger.  [17] And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child.  [18] And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them.  [19] But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.  [20] And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God … . Returned to where? They returned to where they were when the angel appeared to them to give them the announcement. They returned to their work. They returned to being the social outcasts that they were according to the community standards and traditions of the time. They returned to their sheep. They returned to the same work, salary, hours, hardships, disappointments. What they did not do was become professional preachers. They did not interpret the magnificent blessing that God had bestowed on them as a message that they should go on the road with their message. They did not consider themselves crucial to the world hearing about the birth of the longed for Messiah. They did not consider it a waste to simply go back to their work and homes as a group of blessed men. They no doubt told their wives and children about what they had been told and what they had seen.
Their lives did not become trouble free. They still had to fend off wolves and other predators from the sheep. They had to kill animals with infectious diseases and lose the income that killing them would have incurred. They had to haggle for a decent price for their animals and their wool. Life went pretty much back to normal for these guys, except that now they were changed men. The little circle of people that their world was, would have noticed a change in their behaviour and language and attitudes. Their prayer lives would have become more vibrant and their attendance at the local synagogue would have become more regular and their worship more vibrant. They would have become men who shared with others and did not let the difficulties they daily faced destroy their joy.
None of these supposed changes are unlikely. They are very probable. Oh that we would learn from these shepherds. We are called to bloom where we are planted. We are not called to fame and fortune – and no one else is either. We are called to be a witness in low paying jobs and sickness and ungodly neighbours and friends. We are called to simply maintain a joy that we have met the Saviour. We are called to gladly meet with our great God on a daily basis in prayer and the Word. We are called to worship Him in whatever circumstances that God chooses to allow us to serve Him. We are called to worship with others remembering that God has put us in fellowships with other believers for their good and God’s glory. We are to volunteer and serve and worship and grow in our knowledge of the Almighty – right where we are.
It is an immense honour God has bestowed on us to know Him, be forgiven, be guaranteed an eternity with Him and be allowed to do for Him what He can do better without us. Learn from the Shepherds. In your work or home or places of leisure, go praising and glorifying God for what you have seen and heard and what God has lavishly given you because of His great mercy.

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