Wherever we find ourselves this Advent season, no matter what is going on around us, there is a truth sheltering us that can change our lives. It is this:
In the darkness, even in our own blindness, the outcome of all things is meant to manifest the works of God.
Let us, with praise and thanksgiving to the Lord and for His Word, open our eyes and our hearts to that reality. All things work together for good for those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28) That’s a big box, a big bow, and a very valuable gift.
How can we know we fit that category, that we are numbered among those who love the Lord? His purpose is that all things be summed up in His Son (Ephesians 1:10,) and we are among those who dedicate their lives to that happy ending. This is a conclusion that nobody can anticipate without faith and hope, and nobody can forestall it. All things will be summed up in Christ; we may live accordingly.
The shepherds who saw and heard the angelic host singing the glories of God were left, as are we all, with choices and possibilities. They could go to see what the angels had proclaimed … or not. They could, from that hour, even among the flocks, live as those who knew the truth and believed.
And as to loving God, it isn’t that difficult. We love Him the way we would love a spouse, looking to His interests, giving Him time, and lots of it, deferring to His heart (which is toward love for others) and entrusting our own hearts to Him. We see to it that we are enjoying Him – Oh, yes … enjoying Him! Refusing to fret when things don’t go our way … we have HIM! That’s what most men come home to when they come home happy, and that is how it is meant to be for us in Christ. We have HIM; the rest is details.
Now we’re not blind anymore. We see that all that is hidden from us still has purpose in Christ, we take Him at His word, we believe in an ending that only He can produce, but He can produce it. Even if we travel no further than the next pasture and gain no more glory than the faithful tending of our flocks, we hold to an assurance that God will absolutely find a way to be glorified. For all that we don’t see, we know our sin and iniquity has been cleansed and we have been set free, and as said the writer of Hebrews, “we see Jesus.” (Hebrews 2:9_
Murillo, circa 1650
Adoration of the Shepherds
public domain, 100 years