Thought for today
31st December 2017
James' introduction to todays readings.


All our readings urge us to worship God, whatever is going on in good and bad times. In our first reading, Isaiah proclaims the liberation of Israel from the oppression of exile in Babylon and a fresh start in their own land. Jerusalem will be rebuilt, which the Babylonian troops had destroyed two generations earlier. The people are to greatly rejoice in the Lord, their whole being to exult God'.

St Paul urges the Christians of Galatia to praise God: ‘Abba! Father!’ Jesus has come to free us from sin to live fully now and for ever; a life of loving service. This has come about through his Son Jesus, his life, death and resurrection. The shepherds, having encountered the wonder of God coming into the world, return to their sheep and community praising God. Their meeting with Jesus would remain an integral part of them for the rest of their lives, changed to become more like Him.


The shepherds were full of joy after their meeting with Jesus. They went back to their fields, and their low worldly status, but changed in their whole attitude to life. Like them, we have come to praise God this morning and meet him, not in a stable but in word and sacrament. Are we ready, like the shepherds, to be changed, to be more his people, more like Jesus? Will we, like the shepherds, go out full of praise and thanksgiving, to carry our joy in to our needy world?


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