Rembrandt’s The Adoration of the Shepherds has deeply touched me this Christmas season. And now that the chaos is over, the image is bringing to life the words I’ve heard hundreds of times.

Luke 2:16-20 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.  But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

In the painting, there are people who have come to see this thing that has happened (v. 15). They are in the shadows in the background talking about it. There is another in the shadows, worshipful, but hesitant. There are those who have drawn near to the child and have let Him bring them to their knees in adoration and transformation. And then there is sweet Mary who has let Him have full access to her heart and mind.

Are we like those who are curious and have come to see – observing, discussing, analyzing, being amazed? Or have we come with open hearts and minds to let the light of The Christ in to penetrate our darkness and change us forever?

Isaiah 9:2 The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.