Does the Shepherd’s Experience Reflects Those who are Ill?

shepherds2When we look at the emotions and experiences of the shepherds, can we see the life of one with illness reflected back? Lisa shares.

“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.” (Luke 2:8).

As we celebrate Christmas Eve today it is a time when we can easily envision the unfolding of the birth of Christ. There are details provided in Scriptures that we can piece together to more fully understand how it all played out.

Ironically, however, there seem to be more details about the evening the shepherds experienced than even Jesus’ parents.

Why would God give us such details about the lowliest people in the Christmas story? Because it is not a story about kings or magi, angels or even mothers. It is a story for us–those of us who are just going through life, relying on God on fresh ways each day.

In many ways, it is easy to see how those of us with chronic illness can relate to the shepherds:

These men lived in the fields watching their sheep.
They did what they had to do to take care of their loved ones and provide for them. Those of us with illness often do what must be done in order to make it through one more day and care for those we love.

When the angels appeared and the glory of the Lord shown around them, their first emotion was fear.
Even when I know I am doing what God wants me to do, I still experience fear. Knowing God is in control can give me a sense of peace–but I can also feel fear simultaneously. I know God wants me to grow, to be refined. Being a believer of Jesus does not guarantee a life of ease–but of God’s presence and strength through the suffering.

They wanted to see what God was up to.
As soon as the angels were gone, they decided to head to town to see this baby. Experiencing the constant ups and downs of living with chronic illness can make us cynical. However, when we know God promises to also give blessings, we are eager to see just what He is up to. He can still surprise us if we are open to His hearing His voice.

They spread the word about baby Jesus and all who heard it were amazed.
Are you a good story teller? When you see God perform a miracle, are you eager to share about how you saw God work with everyone you meet? It can be exciting to share our own testimony–about how we went from being so weak (emotionally and physically perhaps) to being renewed and restored because of God’s mercy.

Prayer: Father, You, whom I pray to, are the same God who gave the shepherds the opportunity to experience Your Son’s arrival fully. From sending angels to a star, allowing them to experience their human emotions of fear to excitement and wonder, You let these regular men be part of this glorious event. Thank You for giving me the chance to share in their experience and see how I may have experienced that special evening. Never let my wonder and awe be diminished because of my illness. Amen.

About the author:
Lisa Copen is the founder of Rest Ministries and it has been one of the greatest adventures of her life. Despite her own tendencies to like to buy people gifts and celebrate Christmas in the way the world does, she is trying to focus on the true meaning behind the holiday this year especially.

When you look at the scriptures written about the arrival of Jesus on earth, what or who seems to reflect your experience in life–past or present?

This is Joy Williams singing “Here with Us.” If you are feeling disheartened today or tonight, remember that the Christmas story isn’t about big family events and tall trees with presents around them. Christmas is about God being here with us . . . the birth of Him never being separated from us again. Celebrate the real reason for Christmas. God bless you… -Lisa

This is “The Night Before Christmas” with Brandon Heath. Thought you may enjoy it too.