Faithful the Shepherds

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. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.” – (Luke 2:8-10, NIV)

 

For many of us, this is a very familiar passage in scripture. Every Christmas, for as far back as I can remember, I have heard this passage in Luke, and imagined the angel appearing to the shepherds at night, and then the shepherds making their way to see the newborn Jesus after standing in the splendor of the choir of heavenly hosts. However, I had never really wondered why the shepherd? Yesterday, my pastor unpacked the history of this passage in a way that made me ponder the message long beyond the time seated in service. Why would God make such an important announcement to those whom society considered the lowly and unclean? Additionally, how intriguing that the space where our Savior lay, was familiar and comfortable to the shepherds, rather than some palace or huge house that they would be too intimidated to approach… God does not call the equipped, but rather He equips the called. The shepherds were faithful and fearless to do the job in their fields at night, so why not use those very same traits for more? There is so much more to the story, and I am barely scratching the surface. (Click here for the link to the podcast) My greatest take-away was the gift of more – a glimpse at more of the story, more insight, more understanding, and even more to be grateful for as we celebrate this most holy season. May the God of all peace reveal more of Himself to us all this blessed Christmas season.

 

Faithful the shepherds, Faithful the Shepherds

Watching flocks by night;

When an angel showed,

Gave them a good fright.

The first words spoken,

“Do not be afraid,

For good news I bring;

Of where Jesus lay.”

The babe long promised,

Had at last arrived;

Hope for all people,

Salvation alive.

Faithful the shepherds,

Who went on their way;

To see this baby,

In a manger lay.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not call the equipped, but rather You equip the called. Thank You that You use the most unlikely of us to do incredible things, simply because we are willing. Thank You for Your goodness and grace. Forgive us for our fearfulness and stubbornness when things before us seem impossible. Teach us to trust You more, as You are God and we are not. Show us how to love those around us in a way that shines Your goodness and grace in a way that makes love tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You and thank You for the greatest gift ever given. Amen.

 

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

 

Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. – 2 Corinthians 3:5

Making Markers to Remember

“We will use these stones to build a memorial. In the future your children will as you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ Then you can tell them, ‘They remind us that the Jordan River stopped flowing when the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant went across.’ These stones will stand as a memorial among the people of Israel forever.” – (Joshua 4:6-7, NLT)

…Someday when your children ask you, “Why are these stones piled up here?” You will tell them how the waters of the Jordan parted as the covenant chest of the Eternal One crossed the river, and those stones will fix that memory for the Israelites forever. – (Joshua 4:6-7, VOICE)

 

I love how often in the Old Testament that there are significant stories of God’s faithfulness where the people of God marked their story with stones of remembrance so that the memory of all that God had done will live on for the generations yet to come. I’m not sure when or where that practice was lost, but it makes me take pause to consider yet again, all of the times in my life where I could pile stones of remembrance of God’s faithfulness. The incredible thing about God is that He cares about the small things as well as the giants that cross our paths. One example of His provision and faithfulness for me came yesterday, as I have been dealing with a dead Keurig for the last two weeks. Yes, I know it is a luxury item and I have been abundantly blessed to have one, yet as a very early riser who starts the day with coffee, it has been sadly missed as I’ve had to brew coffee in a make-shift, rustic way. Yesterday, my love spent two hours disassembling the machine to replace the part that seemed to have gone bad. The inner workings of the machine are tiny and difficult to access, yet my Viking mechanic persisted. Once he replaced the part and turned the machine on, it came to life, only to refuse to work the way it was intended. The life of my coffee maker had expired. I had posted my appreciation for his hard work on Facebook, and he later commented about its demise. A sweet friend that I have not seen in quite a while, offered to give me her machine, as she has given up coffee and no longer uses hers. Just like that, something that is not even a need, but rather a want that is appreciated, was provided. Perhaps I need to form a stack of memorial “stones” from k-cups, to remind myself of His goodness and faithfulness, and to share with others, His kindness to me. We all have stories, both big and small, of the wonderful ways that God has provided in our lives. May we ever remember the things that He has done, and consider the stones of remembrance He is building in our lives.

 

Let us make markers, Making Markers to Remember

Of God’s faithfulness;

Ways to remember,

How we have been blessed.

For as we recall,

The good God has done;

Faith grows in others,

Our daughters and sons.

May we each take time,

To tell of His good;

How He’s provided,

Beside us, He stood.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful forever. Thank You that You care about even the small details in our lives because You love us where we are. Thank You for the example that was set long ago, as Your people placed stones of remembrance to commemorate Your faithfulness to them. Forgive us for not acknowledging the ways that You meet us and bless us – both big and small, for Your hand is in it all. Teach us to remember and give You praise for all things. Show us how to set stones of remembrance in our hearts so that we would always have words of gratitude to give. Help us to love those around us in a way that creates reason to remember in their lives as well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we remember Your faithfulness and tell others of the great things that You have done. Amen.

 

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

 

They will celebrate Your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of Your righteousness. – Psalm 145:7