The night of Jesus' birth was a high point of history and eternity.
If there is a fluctuation in joy and excitement in heaven, it was off the charts that night. Angels burst through eternity into the night sky to sing about it. The shepherds, whose night had started off with fear, ended the night by "glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen."
The travel and labor were, thankfully, over for Mary and Joseph. They were marveling at the new life in the manger, remembering prophetic words that now had flesh and lay before them.
I wonder if any of them wanted that beautiful night to end.
The next words I hear in my head make up an old cliche: "All good things must come to an end."
That leans toward depressing, doesn't it? But the fact is, things do end - on this earth, anyway. The happy moments end. The sad moments end. Maybe a better way to say those last two sentences is that both the happy and the sad...fade.
As I was reading Luke 2, I noticed the word "returned" in verse 20.
And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
(Luke 2:20 ESV)
This miraculous night the shepherds had been such an integral part of ended. They returned to where they were before. They could not live in that moment forever.
We cannot live in those peak moments of life forever either. We always return, on some level, to where we were. The difference is we return not exactly who we were before "a moment." And because we are different - even if it's an ever so slight difference - we hopefully, will live differently in that returned place. And when we have an encounter with the Savior, we will, hopefully, live with more purpose, more joy, more hope and more love - both toward the Lord and toward our fellow man - in that returned place.
And that, my friends, is reason to glorify and praise God!