When the shepherds came to worship the newborn Messiah, they may have also discovered how deeply God loved them. God’s surprises fill me with wonder.
Feeling You close, God, my heart softens.
In the Bethlehem region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them. Luke 2:8-20 (NRSV)
Invitation to Prayer:
As you gaze at this image, notice Jesus’ openness and how he is pointing to his heart. Imagine you are standing before him, feeling him communicating, “I love you.” What prayers are emerging in your body, mind, heart, and imagination? Pray them now.
The Adoration of the Shepherds, a bas-relief by Bridan (1786-88) placed above the stalls in the inner choir at the Chartres Cathedral in France.
Other posts in this series:
The Nativity (1): Christmas Love
The Nativity (2): Touching
The Nativity (3): Pondering Jesus’ Birth
The Nativity (4): Blessing
The Nativity (5): Animal Companions
The Nativity (6): Touching God
The Nativity (7): A Mother’s Prayers