This week of Advent we reflect on Joy! Here are my thoughts from the week!
I always love to pour over the verses that describe the birth of Jesus. I let my imagination take hold and I find myself in the midst of that glorious night. This week I stepped into the world of the shepherds who were living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. Luke 2:8
This scene was easy for me to imagine because I have actually been there and stood on those same hills overlooking Bethlehem. For you to fully appreciate the wonder and joy the shepherds knew, a few more important details might be helpful! Let me tell you what I learned from my hillside view of Bethlehem!
First of all, at dusk most shepherds would tuck their flocks safely into a sheepfold to protect them from nocturnal predators. Only the shepherds “keeping watch” ---the ones assigned to watch the “lambs without blemish, males of the first year, taken out of the flock” (Exodus 12:5)---would be out in the fields at night.
You see, close by Bethlehem, on the road to Jerusalem, was a tower, known as Migdal Eder, the “watch-tower of the flock.” This was the station where shepherds watched the pure and spotless lambs intended for sacrifices in the Temple.
Do you see the significance? Those shepherds who first heard tidings of the Savior’s birth, who first listened to angels’ praises, were watching flocks destined to be offered as sacrifices in the Temple. It’s also significant to realize that the shepherds who guarded these worthy sacrificial lambs were the first to see God’s Perfect Chosen Lamb, “and when they saw Him, they believed, and adored Him”.
Ah…and did you know that these same shepherds would take the lambs they had been watching in the fields to the Temple? And while all those who came to worship and to sacrifice were selecting their sacrifices from the flock, the shepherds “shared all they heard and saw about the child.” They had seen the perfect Lamb, who would take away the sins of the world! “And all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. Luke 2:18
Knowing this lends a bit more sparkle to this glorious night, don’t you think?
The shepherds’ great joy “spontaneously overflowed into praise” (Luke 2:20).
Be filled with unfathomable joy this week…and let it overflow into praise! And “Look for Christ, and you will find Him. And with Him, everything else” (C.S. Lewis).