up – part 2
The shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste, and found Mary and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they saw it they made known the saying which had been told them concerning this child; and all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them.
Last week we heard that Mary had hastened to care for her kinswoman, Elizabeth. This hastened journey was part of a long line of journeying that had occurred throughout salvific history.
Like Mary, we are urged to faithfully journey toward Christ. We were asked, as part of our Advent preparation, to show forth our acceptance of God’s will and the great joy that comes from His service.
Now the Christ child is among us – with Christmas joy – reborn in our hearts. We are now asked to show forth a new perspective and a refreshed sense of happiness and peace.
Today we hear that the shepherds were the first to hear of Jesus’ coming. They had a choice. They could remain where they were or they could take up the journey. They immediately responded by setting out on a journey to Bethlehem. “Let us go over to Bethlehem…”
The coming of Jesus was not the end of journeying, but the start of a new journey – the most important and magnificent one of all – to true joy.
These humble shepherds had the first opportunity to respond. They were extraordinarily humble people who had been extraordinarily blessed. They could have focused on the place where they were, where they existed, but instead they got up to go – to take the journey to Jesus – the source of all that is extraordinary.
Like these humble shepherds we have an opportunity. We can maintain our ordinary lives and get by. We can stay where we are and attend to the shepherding of our work, laundry, child rearing, shopping and so on, or become extraordinary shepherds. To become extraordinary shepherds, we like the humble shepherds must set out on the journey to make known the saying which had been told concerning this child.
That does not mean that we get out of our work, laundry, child rearing, shopping and so on but that it in all those things we have the opportunity to spread the joy of the Great Shepherd. Each task and each trip will be a new opportunity to live joyfully in Jesus.
It has been said that we idealize the past and dream of a perfect future. If we take up the journey, each day will be extraordinarily joyful.