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.’
16So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. 17When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; 18and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them.
Whatever anyone thinks of shepherds, one thing is clear. The shepherds who heard the angel voices announcing good news were open. They were open to the unexpected, the unusual, the disturbing. They were willing to move from where they were to new and uncharted territory.
They were not locked into tired old paradigms and traditions. They had the capacity to launch out into the unknown, to explore the dark edges. They were willing to risk ridicule and mockery in their search for the deeper truth that called their hearts.
How often do I miss the new thing because I am unwilling risk exploring the strange land of mystery embodied in the stories of Jesus?
Life is so filled with the strange and unsettling, it is tempting to seek the reassurance of anything that feels familiar and comfortable. I long for the security of what I know. Launching out in search of a “child lying in the manger,” seems like a fool’s errand.
But this baby, born in obscurity and poverty who would grow into a man living on the edges without power or prestige, turns out to be precisely the truth and light for which I long.
It is not just that the stories about Jesus carry truth. He himself is the truth he reveals. He bears the fullness of light in “the glory of the Lord that shone around them.”
What are the things to which I cling that prevent me from perceiving the deeper “glory”?
What does this “glory” look like as I see it reflected in the baby born in Bethlehem became as a man?