I love the writings of Walter Wangerin and have been enjoying his book during this advent season, Preparing for Jesus. And today I feel led to share this day’s reading. Prepare to enjoy and be blest!
LUKE 2: 16 “And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph and the babe lying in a manger.”
WE ARE THE SHEPHERDS who run: from the fields to the stable, from the night to the morning, from our labors to the Lord.
We are the ones who run this year, too, as in every year past:
From toil and our daily chores, we run to the comfort in Bethlehem.
From our obligations and responsibilities, we run to the strength of Immanuel: God’s strong arm among us.
From our fears of loss and instability, from the anguish of troubled finances, from poverty we run to the treasure that will not tarnish nor ever diminish, the baby’s eyes like coins in our purse, the baby’s eyes eternal.
From our obscurity; from the darkness in which we live our lives, unacknowledged, inglorious; from our truer condition as “no one, people that are not” we run to the Son of God, who knows each of our names, and who will call us by our names, and whose very call will empower us to follow.
From sorrow we run to joy. From hatreds we run to love. From antagonisms we run to peace. From sin we run to the Savior. From death we run to life. From sickness we run to the healer.
O child, we kneel before you. We have no gifts, neither the gold of riches nor the frankincense of holy aroma, nor the myrrh of salve and embalmment. We must ourselves be the gifts we bring to you. Jesus, we offer our bodies as living sacrifices; let them be holy and acceptable to you.
Son of Mary and Son of God, we worship you. There is no one more worthy than you. In you we see the mercies of God.
O Word by which the whole Creation came to be, we come to you in rags and tags and unembarrassed, because you, too, have chosen not royalty nor wealth nor power but the lowly existence of shepherds. Swaddled and laid in a manger, you are like us. We yearn to be like you.
O little Jesus, sleep. Sleep while we kneel and watch over you in a dim light this Christmas too. We honor the woman that bore you. We admire the man that adopted you. We maintain sweet memories of those who brought us, like Mary and Joseph, into the stable to worship you during our own Christmases past. But you are the one we praise. You are the one whom we trust. In you we rest. In you we place our faith. Forever and forever, you are the Christ—and you are our Lord forever.
Hush, mother Mary; we’ll watch for you. Sleep while your baby is sleeping too.
He is a lamb both tender and young, We will be shepherds to shepherd your son.