Here’s to the Heroes – Keeping Watch by Night

firefighterHe sees you when you’re sleeping. He knows when you’re awake. He knows if you’ve been bad or good-
No. God.
He neither slumbers nor sleeps and He is ever watchful even over those of us who feel invisible.

This post is my raised glass to the third shift faithful, the round-the-clock warriors, the on-call, ever-ready, what’s-a-day-off few who stand in the gap while others sleep and sip eggnog around the fire.

Here’s to the men and women around the world doing mighty, heroic, compassionate, sacrificial things that no one sees or knows.

Spouses holding and calming disoriented husbands or wives who awake with panic because of Alzheimer’s or who wrestle with pain from chronic illnesses.

Moms and dads praying late into the night over sleeping children, straying children, or sick children – battling for them on a celestial plane, bathed in the glow of night lights,listening to hospital monitors, or watching for headlights in the driveway.

Caregivers and first responders in a myriad of circumstances administering comfort, aid, rescue, consolation, and true joy while everyone around sleeps. Young people standing behind registers and counters working hard, providing service, even when no one is looking.

Dads and moms working second and third jobs or sitting up crunching numbers to keep food on the table. Soldiers who aren’t even old enough to drink faithfully standing watch in lands far from home wondering if anyone is thinking of them.

That’s why we sing about shepherds.

Shepherds were not the rock stars of their time that the Christmas story makes them out to be. Until that band of angels showed up, shepherds were the invisible people of their day.

Clinging to the bottom rung of society. People probably told shepherd jokes at the inns. Shepherds smelled bad. They spent hours alone and probably weren’t treasured too dearly by their own families who often chose the child with little potential for other tasks to go out to tend the flocks at night.

So, their acts of heroism – helping ewes through difficult births, defending the flock from hungry lions or wolves, and rescuing lost sheep often went unnoticed, unappreciated.

Their poetry and songs were performed for an audience of One.

Their faithfulness was taken for granted by everyone but the One who sees all.

And the joys they experienced – new lambs, light shows in the sky, or triumphing over danger – they rejoiced in these things alone, too.

But God sent a message to all invisible people who keep watch in the night when He chose to announce the birth of His Son to shepherds.

Think about it.

He’s God. His Son could have been born anywhere at anytime. Certainly there were more important people who could have heard the news first. Babies are born in the daylight all the time.

I think God wanted everyone who labors faithfully but invisibly to know – He sees.

He sees everything. He knows all those times you choose to do the right thing when no one is looking. He shares your joy and He knows your sorrow. Even if no one else knows, He sees that you are a hero.

And no hero dies alone, unseen. He is there, too.

One day, everyone will know what you do, because He sees.

No one ever sang songs about shepherds until Jesus arrived on the scene.

Well, not nice songs.

In heaven, they are writing songs about you, faithful ones.

So don’t lose heart in the late watches of the night. You are never alone. You are never unnoticed.

God does not take your acts of love for granted. No one loves in vain.

To all those who tend and care and watch through the night, rejoice! The God of  the Universe sees and One day He will tell us your story.

Until then, lift a mug of coffee to the shepherds who went before you and thank God for sending Jesus who faithfully Shepherds us all through the watches of our long night.

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    The Conversation

  1. Excellent reminder to cling to the Truth of who we are before the Father and to pray for those who so often go ‘unremembered’. The connection to the shepherds on the hillside so long ago is powerful. Thank you!

  2. Anonymous says:

    It is for the “first responders” that I pray. The firemen, police, ambulance members who see things no one should have to see. They walk among us and seem like everyone else. But each one carries memories of people they saved or tried to save. Each one a hero–each one willing to put his/her life on the line for us. They are living God’s command to us: love your neighbor as yourself. They don’t preach it, they just do it. MOMMA

  3. Daryl G says:

    He sees you when you’re sleeping…,

  4. Rush'd Lady says:

    I kinda had those thoughts as I spent two weeks in the hospital last summer. I wondered abt. the people who worked in both and the various people who were ill there too with various ailments. And yet in the midst of it all, I tried to find things to be grateful for and had to make a list. Afterwards, I made sure I sent thank you’s to the some of the nurses who took care of me so kindly. But thank you for enlarging my list.