Advent devotions for the 5th week: God Dwells With Us

Reflection on the Christmas Shepherds

A while back, Pastor Pam asked for a reflection writing about the Shepherds in the Christmas story. I have fretted the task ever since. What do I think when I see the shepherds in the Nativity? Or how seeing the shepherds at this time of year helps my faith….. The Shepherds are not really the first image you think of when you think of the Nativity. Typically it goes: Jesus in the manger, Mary and Joseph, Angels, the Magi, the animals and then – oh ya! … The Shepherds. This makes me think why. Why the Shepherds?

The Angels are the heavenly heralds. The Magi bring the gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. The Shepherds…. Come empty handed. And according to the story, they leave as quickly as they came. However, they did not leave empty handed. They left having found what the many generations of Israel had been looking for… The Messiah.

And so like the disciples that would follow in later years, they were able to go and spread the good news with great rejoicing of what they had seen and heard.

This leads me to think of the shepherds finding Jesus on the day he was born, not from the Christmas story as found in the Gospel, but rather, unconventionally as in Luke 15:4-6a, the parable of the lost sheep- not that the shepherds had lost Jesus, but rather the messiah who collective generations had been seeking like lost sheep in Jesus’ parable. So having found him they left with joyful hearts         and rejoicing voices.

So I go back to “why the shepherds?” Well, throughout the history of the Jews, shepherds have played very prominent roles. From Abraham to Jacob (Israel) to King David, shepherds have been instrumental. They have been humble yet passionate in their labours. So it makes perfect sense that God would use shepherds yet again to go out and proclaim “The Saviour Has Come!” They found what they had been looking for, “And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then He calls his friends and neighbours together and says ‘rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep’” (Luke 15:5-7)

Lord, we may not know your purpose for us and we wander off, but we give thanks and glory to you for the gift of your salvation. As sinners we have lost it, but because of your great love and guidance, and through the sacrifice of your Son Jesus Christ, we have been shown your saving grace. Let us rejoice and “Go Tell It on the Mountain!” Amen

Mark Diebel

Sunset Cake

This beautiful recipe is a favorite from the kitchen of Darlene Divers. It seems perfect for an impressive no-fuss desert when you have a large crowd. Best wishes as you gather around the table!


1 package (18-1/4 ounces) white or orange cake mix

1-1/2 cups milk

1 package (3.4 ounces) instant vanilla pudding mix

1 package (3 ounces) orange gelatin

4 eggs

1/2 cup canola oil


1 can (20 ounces) crushed pineapple, drained; 2 cups sugar

1 package (10 ounces) flaked coconut

1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream

1 carton (8 ounces) frozen whipped topping, thawed

Toasted coconut, optional


  • In a large bowl, combine the first six ingredients; beat on low speed for 30 seconds. Beat on medium for 2 minutes.
  • Pour into three greased and floured 9-in. round baking pans. Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.
  • Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.
  • In a large bowl, combine the pineapple, sugar, coconut and sour cream. Reserve 1 cup; set aside.
  • Place one cake on a serving plate; top with a third of the remaining pineapple mixture. Repeat layers twice.
  • Fold whipped topping into the reserved pineapple mixture. Spread over top and sides of cake. Sprinkle with toasted coconut if desired.
  • Refrigerate until serving.

Prep: 20 min. + chilling   Bake: 25 min. + cooling

Yield: 12-16 servings

Enjoy !

Published by paulandapolloswork

pastor for South Grey Bruce Lutheran Parish.

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