Jesus invites us to rest in the shadow of his grace.
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This one figure struck me as he sits in the shadow of the stable. He appears to be a shepherd yet there are no sheep around him. He is slightly removed from the other figures and from the manger itself. No one is looking at him. He is a man in the shadows.
No matter where you stand at the birth of Jesus, he invites you into his shadow.
“Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me,
for in you my soul takes refuge;
in the shadow of your wings I take refuge,
till the storms of destruction pass by.”
Psalm 57:1 English Standard Version
David was fleeing from King Saul when he sang these words. The destruction that he faced was that of death itself. What could have separated David from God instead drew him into his shadows?
What is separating you from the shadow of God’s love? There are many forces of “destruction” that invade our lives, each of which pulls us into the shadow of the stable. If you find yourself dwelling in the shadow of the stable like this lone figure, remember the shadow of death that fell on Jesus’ cross.
In contrast to the brilliance of the host of heaven at his birth is the appalling darkness that descended on Jesus at his cross. He was devoured by the darkness of sin that you might rest in his shadow of his wings. His invitation stands. His Spirit is drawing you. Come rest in his shadow.
Copyright Douglas P Brauner