A Christmas Devotion from The Salvation Army

Dec 24, 2019

The Gospel of Luke tells us that when the shepherds heard the news about the Savior’s birth, they hurried in from the fields to the village of Bethlehem and crowded into the stable, eager to see with their own eyes what the angel had declared.

After witnessing the infant Jesus, the shepherds left the scene and immediately began to spread the word, announcing the Good News to everyone they encountered as they made their way back to their flocks in the fields:

When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them…The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told. (Luke 2:17, 20)

It’s interesting to compare the shepherds’ reaction to Jesus’ birth with that of Mary, who sat quietly amid the bustle, contemplating the amazing turn of events. As Luke tells us, “Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart” (Luke 2:19).

Mary didn’t sing Halleluiah or exclaim Amen or even pray audibly. She didn’t demonstratively praise the miracle of Jesus’ birth as others did. Instead, she quietly received the gift of her Son.

This week as we celebrate Christmas and the birth of our Savior, may we remember that praise, prayer and worship can take many forms -- from exuberant and demonstrative to quiet and contemplative and everything in between.

We might be like the shepherds, shouting the Good News from the rooftops. Or we might be more like Mary, quietly treasuring and pondering. There’s no right or wrong or even preferred way to praise and worship our God. What’s most important is that we give thanks and praise to Jesus our Savior with all of our heart, mind and soul. 

Gracious God, may I remember to praise You and thank You, not only on Christmas Day but every day, all year round. Thank You for Your love and grace. Thank You for giving us the precious gift of Your Son Jesus. Amen.

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