Back in the days of Jesus, shepherds were considered dishonest, un-trustworthy, unclean thieves. According to many historians, shepherds at that time were considered the lowest of the low. The term used for them by the Pharisees is translated in the English Bible as “sinners.” It was a derogatory term meaning vile and unclean. They were shunned by “respectable” people and some scholars say they were often considered to be socially on par with tax collectors and prostitutes.
Which is totally ironic considering they had one of the most important jobs: raising and protecting the lambs that would be sacrificed for the temple, symbolically representing the Messiah, the ones that strictly needed to be clean and perfect in all ways, “without blemish.” Anything bad that happened to those sheep could cost the shepherds their lives. Leaving them could result in murder.
So yeah, it’s cool we think of the shepherds as believers and had an angel come and they were able to see the babe swaddled in a manger. But it’s a little more impactful to me knowing they willfully abandoned the flock, left the most important job there was, knowing what it would cost them.
Because to them, even the most important job wasn’t as important as finding and following Christ. Because to them, it was more important to be closer to Him than it was to live. Because to them, they knew to truly live came from Him, the Light and the Life.
The brother of Jared saw the Lord’s finger, and that could have been great as is. But because of his strong faith and him actively seeking out and asking, he was able to see all of the Lord. Are we content with living life with finger miracles? Or by more fully trusting and proactively turning to God, are we going to allow ourselves to be shown greater things? By trusting more and proactively turning to Him, are we going to allow ourselves to be shown more of Him—all of Him, all that He has for us—and really live?
Because what if it’s not just about getting by? What if it’s not about just making it to the end? Because with Christ, there are more blessings, bigger miracles, and prosperity ahead. Are we going to go for it? Or are we going to be like those in Mormon 6 who, “reject that Jesus, who stood with open arms to receive you!”?
I think of the believers in 3 Nephi. There was a day set when all the believers were going to be murdered unless the star came. They literally needed Christ in order to live. I can’t imagine the fear most of them probably felt, or how many people may have started to doubt from all of the passing time between prophecies. Well, the sign did come, and in the perfect timing, too. It came the very night that was set for them to be killed. They were spared, and many converted. Like them, we too need Christ in order to really live!
What will this next year bring? What will tomorrow bring? What will tonight, even at 8:30 at night after a bad day, bring? A new chance to allow Him to show us what else He can do, if we continue to let Him. Every passing second, Christ is giving us a comma, not a period. I have never been more sure that it will leave me amazed and in awe like I am today, because of all that we have and all that we are able to do because He was born and still lives.
I’m reminded that there is so much more to all this. And even the hard and the unexpected will seem exciting to us when we remember that He came and He lives. And the overlooked and the mundane will seem vibrant again. Because this amazingly beautiful, messy, indescribable thing we’re living is something to never take for granted.everything that He has done and given us, is something to never overlook. And when we remember all that, and when we seek a little more, and listen a little better, we’ll wonder why we don’t do it more often. Because truly all of this is something to celebrate.
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