[Confused what this is? See our introductory post here and check out the first two readings]
Shepherds Travel to Bethlehem
15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. 17 When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
The Third Meditation
We continue with the shepherds as dawn breaks on Christmas Day (or on the third day after the winter solstice, as we can begin to perceive the day’s light lengthening). The promise the shepherds received in the depths of night, now they go and see at dawn. Hope moves to knowing, as darkness breaks way to light. The shepherds endured their night travel and grace came at the dawn—the promise fulfilled. And they, too, play their part in the grander story. They tell of the promise they received in the night, to the woman who had born her own labor pain in the darkness. The Christ is born out of the darkness, and this grace is not only hoped for, but received, experienced, and known.
Have you experienced a promise of grace in shame or despair fulfilled?
Allow yourself to open to the dawning of light. Move from darkness and glimmers of hope to the joy of knowing. Be in the presence of the Christ, the promised Savior, God-with-us, here with you right now.