Daily Devotions
 

Welcome to Good Shepherd’s Daily Devotions Page!

In the church year the season of Epiphany falls between the seasons of Christmas and Lent.  It is a time when we focus on how God’s hope is revealed in Jesus.  In this season we read the stories of the Baptism and Transfiguration of Jesus and the calling of the Disciples.  Each story reveals a bit about who Jesus is, and what his life means for us and our call to be disciples.

Our Devotions for the season of Epiphany have been written by members of the Good Shepherd staff.  May they enlighten and inspire you and light your path to a deeper walk with God.

Pastor Heidi Johns

Daily Devotion
Good Shepherd Lutheran Church

Daily Devotion

So far in our Advent devotions we have focused on preparing our hands, homes and hearts for the coming of Christ.  As we enter these final days of Advent we turn our attention to preparing our hopes.  This week we will look at the various characters in the Christmas story to see how each of them played a part in helping to bring God’s hope into the world and into our lives. 

The Shepherds

In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: 11 to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah the Lord. 12 This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host  praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
    and on earth peace among those whom he favors!

15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. 17 When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

It’s hard to know what the hopes of a Shepherd might have been in the early first century.  My understanding is that life as a Shepherd was not glamorous.  It was not something that someone would probably do if they had other options.   Their hopes were probably very much grounded in immediate need—hope to have enough to eat today, hope the weather isn’t too severe, hope none of my sheep get eaten by a wild beast, hope that none of them wander off and get lost.  Oh, maybe they let themselves hope that one day they would own a flock and hire someone else to watch over it.  Or they hoped for a better life for their family.   They maybe even hoped that one day the Messiah would come and turn the world around.

It probably never occurred to them to hope that when the Messiah came they would be among the first to receive the good news.  Yet that’s exactly what happened.  The angel came to THEM, of all people, to announce the birth of Jesus.  Have you ever wondered why?  I mean, why Shepherds?  Why not Kings, Governors, the rich, the powerful?  I think Shepherds best represent God’s hope.  That the Messiah would be for ALL people, not just the aforementioned.  God used a “trickle up” theory in getting the word out about the Messiah.  God sent angels to those at the bottom, and trusted them to share the news.  Which apparently they did or you might not be reading this.

I think there is an important lesson here as we consider preparing our hope as Advent reaches it’s climax.  Is it possible that we have too little hope?  Like the Shepherds, do we hope God will deliver, but have little hope the delivery will come among us?  When we dare to hope in what God can do, there is a hope for our own transformation.  Which is probably my favorite part of the whole Christmas story—that the Shepherds are transformed.  They dare to hope what the angel said was true, they took a risk and traveled to Bethlehem in haste.  After they showed up at the stable, breathless and saw the baby, they returned to the fields, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.  I love to imagine those once dingy Shepherds now aglow with joy having seen God’s hope face to face.

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve, is your hope in what God can do big enough?

If you are reading through Luke this month, today is Luke 23.  Here is the link: Luke 23

 

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