Return Trip

“The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.” Luke 2:20

This final verse in Luke’s famous account of the birth of Jesus struck me differently than it ever had before when I read it last December. I’d always thought the phrase “The shepherds returned” meant they returned to their flock, but now I see an entirely different scenario.

If you’ll remember, the verses preceding this one tell how after hearing the angelic announcement of the birth of a Savior, the shepherds hurried off to Bethlehem to find the babe. After they saw the Son of God, “they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child.” (v. 17)

Now if they spread the word, they certainly must have gone out into the community and beyond to tell everyone they saw what they had seen and heard. So when scripture goes on in verse 20 to say “The shepherds returned”, might it mean that they returned to Bethlehem to see Jesus once again?

I think that might be what happened. After they spread the news, I think they may have felt irresistibly drawn back to the Babe. I think they may have wanted to come close to the Savior again. Their return trip might just have been back to Bethlehem instead of back to their flock.

Let’s plan our return trip even now. After we travel to and fro, celebrating Christmas—the birthday of the King—with family and friends alike, let’s make sure we return to glorify and praise our Savior in our daily lives when all the holiday hubbub is over. Let’s return to worship Him year round.

“Come near to God and he will come near to you . . .” James 4:8a

*Flickr photo by rahego, Creative Commons License


  1. OH! I love this interpretation! I’ve never thought of it in that way, Cheryl. Beautiful, beautiful thought!

  2. I agree with Donna, Cheryl! You have such a way with words. I will definitely make an effort to “return” with great rejoicing this year!

  3. Donna and Laura, so glad this caused you to think of this passage in a little different way. It was exciting for me when the Lord showed me something new in it last Christmas season. Love it when He does that!

  4. What a great view point and yes, I think the babe was indeed irresistible!
    Blessings to you!

  5. Great thoughts, Cheryl. I’ve never caught that… certainly a possibility! We’ll all be making that return trip this week. Blessings to you as you travel on.


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