God's Glory with the Shepherds
An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them. Luke 2:9
I wonder why God chose to announce Jesus’s birth to the shepherds. The angels could have appeared to the priests in the temple a couple miles from Bethlehem. Or to some townsfolk who were devout Jews. Instead he chose the open field where a group of bottom dwelling sheep herders huddled by a fire. The angel appeared and the glory of the Lord shone around them…not just the angel and choirs but God’s own glory shines in brilliant light. God’s glory is present with these outcasts, these low-lifes, these men sleeping under the stars outside of town. God’s message---good news for ALL people…our Savior is born! These lonely, isolated, rough shepherds get to be a part of Jesus’s humble beginning. They get to share this experience for the rest of their lives. They go from terrified men to praising testimonies of the good news! God with them changed them as well! Let’s ask God to shine his glory on our hearts and build courage and purpose in us just as he did with the shepherds.
Father, thank you for choosing the least of these through out your life and ministry. It’s encouraging to know that it’s not only the perfect and put together who get to experience your glory. The everyday people, the obscure, ordinary. Us. Lord, we need a Savior as much today as the nation of Israel needed back then. We ask that you’d shine your glory light into our souls and that we’d shine your love and compassion in this world.
Emmanuel with Mary
The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you, so the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Luke 1:35
Mary, a poor teenage girl from a village far from anywhere important. God sends an angel to her to announce the most defining moment of her life. She is to mother the Son of God! The angel's words "The Holy Spirit will come upon you" and "overshadow you" have always seemed mysterious to me. I really don't know what they mean except that by the creative life-giving power of God, cells inside Mary began to divide and cleave and grow into God. When I was pregnant with my three kids, I loved getting to feel them move inside me. I loved imagining what they would be like and how life would go for them. Can you imagine knowing that for nine months, God himself is growing inside you. That it is God who is kicking you in the ribs, God who makes you crave ice cream and have a crazy sense of smell. The very bump that brings ridicule and judgement in her community is really her growing God belly. Now, we are not going to be pregnant with God, but what if we allowed him to interrupt our lives with his call and basked in his perpetual Presence as Mary did? How would that change your self-worth, your inner monologue, your responses to your family and community? It would sure change me, grow my confidence, and give me a peace that is solid despite the struggles of each day. I wish I could sit and chat with Mary and listen to her reflections on life with Jesus.
Lord, thank you for coming as a fragile baby, for taking on our humanity, for understanding us. We pray that you'd help us submit to your interruptions in our lives. Help us to let you fill us with your Spirit in re-make us into your children. May your Holy Spirit overflow us and ignite us with a passion for your life and purpose and glory. Help us to be more like Mary today.
Emmanuel...God With Us
The virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Emmanuel. Isaiah 7:14
I can hardly believe it’s December 1. Here we are in advent season, the month to focus on Christ’s coming into the world as a newborn baby, on God wrapping himself in human flesh, taking on our vulnerabilities, our brokenness, to save us. He chose to walk our world for more than three decades. He came into the world to truly be with us as well as save us. The name of God Emmanuel, means “God With Us”. All month, I want to guide us around the Bible and focus on just this—that God is WITH us. As he was with those thousands of years ago, he is also with us! We are not alone. Today let’s take a few moments here to thank God for choosing to dwell among us.
Father, our world is hurting with so much pain, sickness, and suffering. We need to know we are not alone in this pain. We need to have you with us, your power, your understanding. As Moses begged God after the people had rebelled, so we beg you to stay with us, to never leave us because more than ever it feels that we need you, our Creator, our Almighty God. Thank you for sending Jesus, to fulfill this prophecy, born of a virgin, to by Emmanuel, God with us. Open our hearts to know what that means for us this Christmas season. Draw us even closer into your arms and be our strength, our wisdom, our hope each and every day. Thank you for not abandoning us, for never leaving us.
Taking it deeper: Take some time to think or journal about how your life would be or feel different if you were aware of God being present with you all the time. (Feel free to share your response in the comments, but no pressure...the point is for personal time with God.) Until tomorrow!
Hi. I'm Maggie. Current hats: Wife, mom, artist and starting this week, a devotional writer! Enthusiastic, creative, focused. I love chai tea lattes, and authentic conversations.