Devotional for December 21

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.

Reflection

When the shepherds heard the word of God, they immediately flocked to see the news. They were living in a thin space, where there were no distractions from the messengers of God. The news amazed and delighted them, and they wanted everyone to know. The surprise is not that they spread the word. A dozen times a day, we all check our phones to see a new story from others around us, or to share something we think is amazing. The surprise is that they listened and acted. They only heard this message because they were living in this thin space where they could actually listen for God’s word, hear it, and respond. But where do we go to remove ourselves from the noise so that we can actually hear God’s message for us?

Dear God, in this time of Advent, help us to find thin spaces in our cluttered lives where we can be still and feel your presence and message for us. Then, give us the confidence to get up and act. And when we are clear on the message, help us convey it to all who need to hear, just as the shepherds did. Amen.

Alexanne O’Dell, Sophomore at Vanderbilt University