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.Luke 2:20
We’ve covered a lot of territory this week about the shepherds. We talked about how Jesus’ coming offers joy for all people, how the shepherds were obedient and that they told everyone about what they had seen and heard.
The story arc for the shepherds role in the story ends with them returning to their flocks. They had to get back to business as usual. But there was nothing usual about what they had just experienced.
They go back to business us usual but with an unusual added element: worship. Of course they had to get back to the sheep, but they had been changed. When you’ve been changed, when you go back to life as usual things seem different.
It’s like when you get married. You get engaged. While you’re engaged you’re probably working a job or doing some kind of normal life activity. You know something big is coming, but you don’t really have anyway to mentally prepare for it. It’s unlike anything you’ve ever experienced.
Then the big day comes, you go on the honeymoon. You come back to the same life you left, except nothing is really the same. Your whole life has changed. You live with someone different. Your routines start to change. Your thinking starts to change. Everything’s the same, but everything has changed.
The same must have been true for the Shepherds, but on a much larger scale. This was something the people had been hoping would happen for hundreds of years. They’d heard the prophecies their whole lives. And now, it was here.
So they go back to their same old life, but nothing is the same. They have been changed, everything has changed. And so they worshipped. They went back to their work, but they did so in worship.
How long did their worship last? I don’t know. I like to think that from this point forward the mundane activity of tending the sheep had been supernaturally altered forever, and now they did their work as though they were working for the Messiah himself. Maybe not. But, I know they were changed.
And for any who may have survived to see Jesus’ ministry and his death on the cross, everything they knew about the work they gave their lives to would change as well.
We have an amazing opportunity to bring God into our ordinary lives the same way the Shepherds did. And there’s no better time to start, than Christmas.