December 25, 2023

Read Luke 2:1-20.

Like the shepherds keeping watch by night, we’ve spent much of the past year anxiously waiting for morning. When each day asks us to witness fresh violence and catastrophe, it becomes a blessing when night passes without a new tragedy to bear. So, the shepherds’ terror is understandable, even familiar to us. A messenger of the Lord would not come with good news so late, when it could wait for morning. Only bad news is urgent enough for the middle of the night.

But, this night is different! The angel of the Lord is bringing good news of great joy for all the people! News so good, it can’t wait until morning! The shepherds make haste, no longer anxious, but overjoyed and glorifying God. Maybe they’d been waiting for good news all along.

The good news is this: as we wait for dawn, praying to make it through unscathed, God is already here. In the middle of the night, God is calling us to witness and take part in the story. The story of Christmas reminds us that God doesn’t wait until morning to give us good news. God is with us, even when we can’t see what’s next.


God of Great Joy, our hearts are holding so much hurt that we can hardly hope for better. We grow weary of keeping our eyes open, for we have witnessed as much as we can bear. Bring good news of great joy for all the people, even before the morning comes. Remind us that in this bruised and broken world, you are already here. Amen.

Austyn Long

Student, Columbia Theological Seminary

Alum, PCM Raleigh