The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them.
This could be a controversial statement this close to Christmas, but I’m gonna say it:
Christmas Day is generally overrated. ‘Twixmas’ is better.
Twixmas runs from the 26th of December to the 1st of January, time seems to stop. What day is it? Did we finish that nice cheese? Another walk? The Simpsons on Channel 4 in the morning?!
And then, the 31st of December rolls around and we toast in a new year - perhaps we’ll be more keen to do that this year than previous years…
And, before you know it, the halcyon days of Twixmas seem long in the past, and you are far removed from the delights of Harry Potter films on ITV and leftover turkey sandwiches.
A cold, grey, drizzly January stretches out before you, and the feeling of Christmassy-ness you had is but a memory.
I wonder how the shepherds felt in the aftermath of their revelation of their Messiah. This sublime moment, staring at the child in the straw that meant everything had changed was immediately followed by… a return to the field.
The field they’d been in with their sheep when they were met by the angel who told them the Messiah had been born in Bethlehem, the same life they had before. How can they go back to everyday life, watching sheep in the cold night, risking their lives in the process?
Something about the baby in the feeding trough had captured these shepherds. We are told of no frustration, no sadness, no negative emotion at all. Instead, we are told the shepherds glorified and praised God for all they had heard and seen.
I love Christmas for many reasons, and one of those reasons is that I get to celebrate the arrival of a King not only for his time, but forever. The child that would see me reconciled to my Heavenly Father. This isn’t something that dies down when Twixmas ends either. When the freezing cold January morning bites at my nose and the rain patters upon my glasses, I am warmed by the knowledge that God came down to earth in Jesus so that I might know him.
I remember the old dog charity advert, “a dog is for life, not just for Christmas”. So too is this true of Jesus. The “meek and mild” baby Jesus of the manger doesn’t stop being miraculous when Christmas ends.
How will you carry the joy of Christmas through to January? What new rhythms and routines could you implement to go ‘back’ to normal life glorifying and praising God like the shepherds?