Stories, thoughts and reflections on the Bible from the WSFC Staff.
Today I am continuing a mini-devotional series for Advent – an annual, focused time of anticipating the coming birth of Jesus. The first candle on the Advent Wreath is for The Prophets. The second is the Bethlehem candle. In last week’s devotional, I made a connection to Jesus as the Bread of Life, the Word of God made Flesh. This last weekend at West Salem Foursquare our teaching time focused on the Word of God. The Bible, like gold, has truth to be discovered and truth to be displayed with our lives.
In today’s devotional, I will take a glimpse at the Shepherd candle. Luke 2:8 tells us that “there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.” The angel of the Lord appeared to them, and for all intensive purposes, freaked them out pretty bad!
Imagine the scene.
The shepherds were carefully and quietly watching their sheep in the middle of the night. There probably wasn’t a whole lot happening, because there is very little that is exciting about a shepherd’s duties. Oh sure, there was the occasional wolf or pack of dogs. Some shepherds could tell stories of bandits stealing sheep once and awhile. But, for the most part, their job was a simple and sleepy one.
Did I mention they were keeping watch at night? Have you ever been tasked with keeping watch at night? Perhaps you were on night duty in the military. Maybe you work a late-night shift for your employment. Have you stayed up all night with a sick child, or sat bedside with a dying friend or relative into the wee hours?
These are solitary moments. The quietness is almost deafening. But it is in moments like these that God shows up.
Such is the case with prayer.
Prayer is like the shepherds night watch. Often it is done in quietness, alone and without any fanfare.
Have you ever sensed the Lord waking you up from a sound sleep and wondered why? Perhaps God is calling you to a night watch. He might be asking you to a time of intercession for people and situations you know not of. Next time you awaken without a seemingly clear reason, perhaps the Lord is calling you to prayer. Say to him, “Yes Lord, speak, for your servant is listening.”
As a parent, you are, in the greatest sense of the term, a shepherd to your flock (your children). Denise and I will often pray simple prayers of blessing over our children, even when they are sleeping. We “keep watch over our flock at night.” Prayer is our night watch. My wife, the far more spiritual one in our marriage, will often find herself awakened and sense a urgency to pray. Don’t shrug off these feelings. It is in moments like these that God shows up.
The shepherds had no idea that the Messiah would be announced during their night watch. What will God do in your times of prayer?
Let’s find out!
Who will you invite to our Christmas Unrwapped gatherings Thurs Dec 23 @ 6pm and Fri Dec 24 @ 4:30 & 6pm?
Pick up a stack of mini invites this weekend to give to family, friends, coworkers, baristas, etc.