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After Christmas Is Over - The Christian Response



One part of Jesus' birth that I studied leading up to Christmas was the shepherds, and even though this was absolutely not my first time studying the shepherds, I felt like I walked away with a completely different application and wisdom than ever before. This aspect of the Christmas story became so relatable to me, and it inspired me to reflect on how I'm going to be walking away from this Christmas season.


In Luke 2:8-9, we are introduced to the shepherds. It says, "And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified."


These first two verses became significant to me because they serve as more than just an introduction to who the shepherds were. They serve as a reminder that the Lord meets us in the middle of our routine in powerful ways.


This is the moment that the Lord chose to tell them the biggest news of their lives, that a Savior has been born. Out of every moment of their lives, He chooses the most ordinary one of all - in the middle of their work, in the middle of their routine, and probably, in the middle of their boredom (because they were literally watching sheep, and if you don't know, sheep are not exactly an interesting animal to watch). He chooses the moment that they least expect, because if we're being honest, our God doesn't like to be predictable.


In the same way, the moments that God wants to reveal Himself to us aren't always the big, life changing ones. He wants to reveal Himself in the middle of our ordinary, daily lives, when everything is normal and maybe even boring. He loves to show up when we least expect it - but maybe we should start expecting it.


Over and over again in Scripture, God shows up in the ordinary. In the routines. Even in the boring. I mean, Mary wasn't doing anything special when she found out she was going to be the mother of the Savior of the world. Joseph wasn't either - but he was overthinking and praying over his decision to divorce Mary. Paul (previously known as Saul) was going on a work trip when he encountered Jesus. It's a pattern that we can trace throughout the Bible, God showing up in these strangely un-special situations, but maybe that means we should begin expecting it.


I walked away from my study of the shepherds with a greater awareness of God's love for the unexpected and ordinary, and it began a fire in me to find Him in those places. If it's clear that He shows up there, and He will, then shouldn't I meet Him there? Instead of being shocked, shouldn't I welcome Him with praise into moments that aren't exactly praiseworthy or momentous? I think so, because perhaps those moments are the Lord's favorite places to surprise us in.

 

Towards the end of the shepherds' snippet in the Christmas story, in Luke 2:15-17,20, it says, "When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, 'Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.' So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child....the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told."


Here, my friends, is a three step plan. This applies to after Christmas is over, and after we experience God in a big way (or perhaps in the middle of an ordinary situation). My eyes were opened so clearly to these three simple steps, but they were empowering, practical ways to keep moving forward in my faith.


1.Investigate for yourself.

I am SO big on this! It is so easy, especially in the Christian world, to simply accept whatever belief is presented to you, without asking any questions. We think that that is "true faith", but I've found that my faith is the deepest and most real whenever I ask questions, dig into my doubts, and actually investigate for myself. The shepherds didn't simply accept what the angels said, they went and looked for the Messiah themselves. No matter where you are in your faith journey, don't just accept what people are telling you about Jesus - go and look for yourself, and develop a solid foundation of what you believe.


2. Spread the word.

When the shepherds saw for themselves baby Jesus, their first response was to go and tell the world. The news of the Messiah is a huge one, and they knew it was too good to keep to themselves, so they told everyone in sight. AS THEY SHOULD, and we need to start doing the same. If you have experienced the goodness of God, then it is your responsibility to spread the word and tell everyone you can about how the Lord has impacted your life. This is life and death, friends, and we have to play our part in making sure that the entire world knows about Jesus and His saving power.


If you aren't sure what it looks like to spread the word, then I'd really encourage you to check out this post on evangelism and sharing the Gospel! I talk about numerous practical ways to share the good news of Jesus with other people, and they are all super easy to implement in your daily routine.


3. Return with a different attitude.

My new favorite part of the shepherds' story is when they went back to the fields. After they told everyone in sight about Jesus, they went back to their normal routine, back to their jobs. The mountain top experience was over, and it was time to go back to the ordinary. But they went back different. While this mountain top experience was over, it changed them, and they carried that with them back into their regular lives.


They went back with a different attitude, with a heart of gratitude. They went back to their average jobs worshipping the Lord, praising Him for this miracle of a Savior, an answered prayer. And man, that's how I want my story to be. I want every encounter with the Lord to push me deeper into a heart of worship and gratitude. I want to experience God, yes, but then I want to go back to my ordinary with a new, renewed attitude and heart.

 

The Lord has revealed to me so many new lessons through the shepherds story, and I am more than grateful for that. I feel that I can walk out of this Christmas season with a new perspective and attitude, and that is such a blessing to me.


What did you learn through this post? What has the Lord taught you throughout this Christmas season? Let me know in the comments below!



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