“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 2:20 (NIV)
I stepped on the treadmill—for the first time in a long time. My husband and I were preparing for a holiday run. We decided to start with a one-mile jog. “It’s only a mile; that shouldn’t be hard,” I thought. I watched the digital numbers tick my distance. I started huffing. And sweating. One-third of the way into my run, I wanted to stop. I pressed on. At nine-tenths of a mile, when I didn’t think I had a breath left, my husband encouraged me, “You can’t quit now; you’re almost there.”
When the shepherds received word via heavenly host that a Savior had been born, they hurried off to Bethlehem and found the baby lying in a manger. Mary and Joseph had traveled a great distance—a three-day trip. Joseph led Mary, her belly full of promise, from Nazareth to Bethlehem. As her time of labor drew near, and her discomfort increased, might Joseph have spurred her on as my husband did to me, saying, “We can’t quit now; we’re almost there.” The Magi traveled farther still in search of the Christ child. Scripture doesn’t reveal details of their expedition, but we can imagine the hardships encountered on foot or beast.
While the shepherds, the family trio, and the wise men physically traveled, they were each walking spiritual journeys too. Joseph and Mary obeyed and raised Immanuel. The shepherds met the Savior of the world and shared Him with others. The Magi followed a star and worshiped the King of the Jews. These souls of the Christmas story were transformed after completing their journey and meeting Jesus. The verse says, “The shepherds returned glorifying and praising God.”
To what lengths do you go to see your Redeemer? Though we are tempted to choose comfort, anything of spiritual or physical value requires sacrifice and endurance. If you avoid the challenge or let roadblocks deter your progress, you’ll miss seeing God. Persevere. You’ll reap blessings for yourself and others. Whatever struggle you face in the new year, there are physical and spiritual rewards on the other side of the rocky road. Because God knows the treasure that awaits you, he cheers you on, saying, “Don’t quit now; you’re almost there!”
Personal Prayer Focus
Father, as we encounter difficult seasons, may we cling to you and the knowledge that you are a redeemer, and because of that, hope and promise await us on the other side of trouble. Though our wilderness journey may be long, please encourage us along the way to spur us on, so we do not give up.
West Ridge Church Prayer Focus
Pray for our Global Outreach Ministry and staff (Ruth Wittenbrook and Lisa Downer) and our Global Outreach Team and Global Partners as they seek to lead teams to share the love of Christ around the globe.