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Luke 2:20 1
20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

Background

Christmas, our annual celebration for Christ’s birth, has come and gone.  Boxes are being filled with decorations, trees taken down, and outdoors, the beautiful lights and nativity scenes, are put away for another year.  The shepherds were simple men, having received satisfactory evidence of the truth of the “Good Tidings” in Christ’s birth.  As shepherds, they would have related well to understanding that God brought forth a living example of His Divine influence on them. They returned to the care of their flocks, glorifying God for what He had shown them, and for the blessedness which they felt. Christ, born of a woman, laid in a stable, proclaimed and ministered to by heaven itself, should be a subject of frequent discussions within every family. We are called through Advent and the Christmas miracle, to compare the predictions of the prophets with the facts stated in history. Our job now that the holiday is over is to confirm in these sacred truths as we return to our families and friends, glorifying and praising God for what we have seen and heard.

This whole unfolding drama is God’s story, and God is the one who should be praised because of it. When the angels leave, the shepherds get up and go into Bethlehem to see with their own eyes the sign that was promised to them. And they find the sign just as it was given, and they begin to share with those around them who were amazed. Just like the angels, the shepherds also depart, and like the angels the shepherds are also praising God and, more than that, they are glorifying God. They are lifting up the one who is already exalted and honoring him with their praises and in this way they glorify God.

We are very ordinary people as compared to those who became witnesses to the birth of Christ. We are very ordinary shepherds, however, meant to serve as witnesses to the Incarnation of our Lord. Other than the angels, the shepherds were the first to proclaim the Good News of Jesus’ birth. But the story must not end here, it must begin here. The proclamation of “Good News,” the coming of Christ for the Salvation of mankind, must be spread throughout our world. Christmas was never meant to be a destination that ended a year, a season, it was intended to begin a season of Hope. Merry Christmas to all!

Items for Discussion

  • What is the Spirit of Christmas and how do we keep it alive in the hearts of mankind?
  • Christ caused the shepherds to “glorify God.” Why is this no longer a result of the Christmas season in our world?
  • How does the faith of those around us influence our own faith walk?
  • What are the parts of Christmas that you miss putting away until next year?
  • Like the census in Bethlehem, Christmas draws us back to our roots – in what ways?
  • Once we have been privileged to experience God’s presence, we then have a responsibility to share that experience with other people—to spread the word—to proclaim the Gospel. What are the ways we can accomplish this next year?
  • How do we experience God’s presence?

Discussion Challenge

  • What is the role of a church in spreading the Good News?
    • Preaching?
    • Teaching?
    • Living?
    • Honoring?

Notes:

  1. NIV New International Version Translations
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