This is a guest post by Sandra Brese Rice. It is meant to be a devotion for use on New Year’s Eve, or for the days leading up to it. For more great devotional resources, check out Bethesda Lutheran Communities.
But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy. It is for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you. He is Christ the Lord. Here is how you will know I am telling you the truth. You will find a baby wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a large group of angels from heaven also appeared. They were praising God. Luke 2:10-13 NIrV
Well, here we are… the last day of the year is just a couple days away!
Are you planning on staying up late to watch the ball drop?
Are you going to a New Year’s Eve party?
Do you think you will be tired tomorrow? Will it be worth it? Why or why not?
Can you imagine the celebration that happened on the night Jesus was born? The angels came to the shepherds who were in the fields and told them their Savior was born. How exciting! Can you picture it? The shepherds were sitting quietly on the hillside watching over their sheep and listening for danger. All of a sudden a great light shone in the sky and an angel appeared. He told them to not be afraid. He told them the good news of Jesus’ birth. Then other angels appeared and praised God. It was quite a party!
Do you know what happened next?
The angels left and went into heaven. Then the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem. Let’s see the thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph and the baby. The baby was lying in the manger. After the shepherds had seen him, they told everyone. They reported what the angel had said about this child. All who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. Luke 2:15-18 NIrV
The shepherds left their fields, ran into town and spent the entire night telling everyone what had just happened! They stayed up all night telling the story of Jesus’ birth and celebrating.
Interesting enough, shepherds were not considered very important in the time of Jesus. They were sometimes looked down upon and considered lower than others. People did not always treat them very kindly because they thought they had an easy job or one that did not take much training.
Do you treat others differently because of their job or because of how smart you may think they are? How do you treat someone who serves, like a waitress or a person who cleans up messes at the hospital? How do you treat the doctors at the hospital? How do you treat your pastor? How do you treat people who may not have a home to live in and live on the street? How do you treat those who seem less intelligent than you?
One of the things we know about the Bible is God only put the things in there that are important. Many times we wonder why there isn’t more to the story. For some of us, this may even get confusing or frustrating. But think about this – if the shepherds weren’t an important part of the Christmas story, God would not have bothered to mention them. They are there, celebrating and announcing Jesus’ birth; so they must be important … and worth it!
The good news is we are worth it, too! Jesus came on Christmas Day for us. He came to earth to save us from our sins. He died for us. He rose for us. He has a home for us in heaven. We are worth it!
How does it feel to know Jesus thinks you are worth dying for?
Now think about someone who makes you angry or who seems different from you.
How does it feel to know Jesus thinks they are worth dying for, also?
This New Year’s Eve, take the “worth it” challenge. Work on fixing broken relationships. Forgive those who have hurt you. Go out of your way to make someone feel special. Be kind. Be polite. Celebrate life. Celebrate Jesus and tell others about his love.
You are our Lord and Savior. Thank You for coming to earth just for us. Thank you for saving us from our sins. Help us remember that we are all worth it and that You love us all the same. In Your name we pray. Amen.