A few miles may have separated these shepherds from the Event which would change the world! Wisely, they decided to travel those miles, check it out, and look into the face of history for themselves.
I've often wondered about the shepherds in this story. Did they return to the routines of job and home awestruck...changed? or apathetic? Luke says that ?they made known the saying which had been told them concerning this child.? Of course! It would be a hot topic of conversation...for a few days. But what about the shepherds themselves? Did they believe? Did they understand what was happening on that special night? Would the finders of Christ-the-babe later become followers of Christ-the-man?
Alas, scripture never answers such questions.
What the Bible does tell us, quite clearly, is that faith can be faith only when we see/believe for ourselves. It's an ongoing process, faith as fresh as the demands of every new day. The Advent season is a reminder to examine that faith. Have I missed God-at-work somewhere today? Did I walk past (or over) a holy presence somewhere within the week? Am I letting myself get so busy during this holiday period that I?m not really seeing/believing the divine presence in my daily rounds?
One of my favorite seasonal poems is by Madeleine Sweeny Miller.
Part of it says:
It isn't far to Bethlehem Town!
It's anywhere that Christ comes down
And finds in people's friendly face
A welcome and abiding place.
The road to Bethlehem runs right through
The homes of folks like me and you.
Lord, open my eyes today to YOU; on the job, in the classroom, in my family, on the street, wherever hurts are being healed, and wherever somebody becomes a new believer. This Advent, I want to join the shepherds, I want to go...see? believe...and rejoice!