Comfort & Joy

shepherds

The shepherds at those tidings

Rejoiced much in mind,

And left their flocks a-feeding

In tempest, storm and wind:

And went to Bethlehem straightway

The Son of God to find.

O tidings of comfort and joy,

Comfort and joy

O tidings of comfort and joy

 

And when they came to Bethlehem

Where our dear Savior lay,

They found Him in a manger,

Where oxen feed on hay;

His Mother Mary kneeling down,

Unto the Lord did pray,

O tidings of comfort and joy,

Comfort and joy

O tidings of comfort and joy

 

Now to the Lord sing praises,

All you within this place,

And with true love and brotherhood

Each other now embrace;

This holy tide of Christmas

All other doth deface.

O tidings of comfort and joy,

Comfort and joy

O tidings of comfort and joy

The Son of God is born. The Messiah. The one whom the earth itself has groaned for since the moment Adam and Eve desired to take matters into their own hands. He is born and the first people God chooses to share His eternal life-altering news is Shepherds. Shepherds! One of the lowliest groups on the society’s totem-poll…they were estranged and not trusted. They were poor and they were dirty. They spent their lives in fields with sheep. That’s all they did. They had nothing to their name and society kept them at arms length. But God sent His messengers to appear before them, to be the first to receive the announcement of Christ’s birth.

Shepherds had empty hands, and likely, aching hearts. These were the ones who were ready to receive Christ. Because they had nothing, without a second thought they were ready to accept everything that Christ is and has to offer. Their Savior, Emmanuel, God-with-us, has come. They jumped up and ran into Bethlehem in search of the baby Jesus. Leaving their flocks, they were willing to give up their entire livelihood in order to worship the Savior. Shepherds never left their sheep because predators would attack them, or people would steel them. But here they left their sheep, completely defenseless. Loosing their flock meant nothing to them compared to meeting the long, expected King.

They obeyed the Angel’s message and followed the sign. Not that the baby was wrapped in swaddling clothes, but that that baby was laying in a feeding-troth. Because there was no crib available in the town of Bethlehem, Mary placed her first-born in a manger. But who really placed him there? God – The King of Kings – gave up His glorious throne in Heaven and descended on earth in the form of a man. God could have chosen to be born in a palace for the richest rulers of the world to see. But no, He placed himself in the place where oxen ate. A place where no mother, let alone a first-time mom, would want to place her baby. He willingly came to die, but first, He willingly came to put himself in the lowliest place a baby could go.

Jesus came for the lowly. Jesus came for the outcasts and poor. Jesus came for the regular people, like Mary and Joseph. Jesus came for you and me.

So doesn’t this cause signing praises? The news of the Gospel is the news of true love. A love that is incomparable to any other. Because God loved you and me so much, that He came down not just from Heaven to earth, but from His throne in Heaven, to the lowliest place on earth. This holy time of Christmas is truly like no other.

Jesus, Son of God, humbled himself to be born in a manger. W cannot even comprehend how far He was willing to come to tell us He loves us and wants to save us. The Shepherds were willing to leave their livelihood behind and give Jesus their empty hands and aching hearts to the One who could eternally fill them.

O tidings of comfort and joy it is indeed!

So, how far are you willing to go to follow Jesus this Christmas season?

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