Posted on: December 5, 2022 Posted by: vudfc Comments: 0

By: Walt Walton

People struggle during this time of year. We occupy a broken world where there’s chaos, disease, gossip, death, thorns and thistle. Seasons come and seasons go, ever-changing plans, thorns and thistle. Then the holiday season rolls in and the days seem to speed up. We try to control time but reluctantly find it controls us; the more we try to control things, the more things get out of control.

As we hustle and bustle in the holiday season, I am reminded that I am in dire need of a shepherd. Here are some truths I rely on.                               

Isaiah 53:6 compares us to sheep wandering off doing whatever it is that we want to do. Yet Proverbs 3:8-9 gives us a better answer, a better way of life, especially valid in the Christmas season and all it demands.

Psalm 23 features David claiming the Lord as his shepherd. In that he realizes this amazing truth: “I shall not want.” Apart from the Lord, there is nothing else David could possibly want, and in that, it is the Lord who leads him beside still waters and restores his soul. Come what may, God is our great shepherd.                                            

In the gospel of Mark (chapter 4, vv 35-41), there is a drastic moment that takes place. The disciples are crossing the sea to get to the other side and this great windstorm arises bringing huge waves crashing over and in the boat. Meanwhile, Jesus is taking a nap and they wake him saying they are going to perish. Jesus wakes up and rebukes the wind and says to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” Just imagine being in a storm that appears to be life threatening and suddenly there’s peace and still waters. The Good Shepherd provides comfort and peace. Jesus is called the Prince of Peace in Isaiah—a shepherd-ruler, good and powerful.

Shepherds secure their sheep. As a former shepherd, David understood what that looked like. He stood between his flock and bears and lions and wolves. Similarly, the predators of this life come our way. The holiday season is a great time to reflect on the beauty of being in God’s fold.

The shepherds out in the field in Jesus’ birth narrative were fearful at first. But then they acknowledged the good news of great joy that will be for all people. They glimpsed and gave the glory to God in the highest and on earth peace upon those who he is pleased. They walked away with peace, like those disciples in the midst of a chaotic storm.  The Good shepherd forever provides peace.

This holiday season, this advent, as Christmas approaches, may we choose to follow rather than wander. May we proceed toward great light with hope in our hearts, eyes focused on our Good Shepherd.

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