That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”
Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying, “Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”
When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. Luke 2:8-17 (NLT)
My cell phone is also my alarm clock. This morning as my alarm sounded, I thought it necessary to check something on my phone. Because Terry works a rotating shift requiring him to sometimes sleep during the day, I have blackout curtains in the bedroom. The bedroom is always dark. As I pushed the buttons on my phone, the screen blinded me. My sleepy eyes, the dark room and the bright screen made it impossible to see the very important information.
I got up, and after some coffee, my eyes were ready for the day. Today included shoveling the snow that fell a few days ago. As much as I dislike snow, this last snowfall was pretty. It was light, fluffy powder. I usually hum the old song from Isaiah 1, White As Snow ,as I shovel.
“Come now, let’s settle this,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool.” (NLT)
Once again, blinded, this time by the morning sun and snow I thought about the shepherds.
The shepherds, settled into their daily pattern as God thrust them into the Christmas story. As their part began, fear gripped their hearts. Keep in mind, the Christmas story had not been blatantly told, so this angel stuff was new to them.
That dark night began like every other; the silence punctuated by the occasional snoring of sheep and fellow shepherds and the black sky sprinkled with twinkling stars. I wonder if they noticed that new, bright star in the sky. Other than that new star, everything was all very familiar, safe, comforting. Then unbeknownst to the shepherds, Jesus entered the scene. God sent His heavenly messengers to proclaim the Good News of Great Joy.
I bet it took a few minutes for the shepherds to regain their sight. I bet it took a few minutes for the shepherds to regain their composure. I’m not sure an angel telling me to “Fear not” would comfort me in the moment. Once the initial shock dissipated, the shepherds ran to Bethlehem and conducted a citywide search of the stables. Finally, they found The One. The angel was right; there was a baby in a manger. The shepherds told the story – little did they know what that baby would do just 33 years later.
I wonder if the shepherds saw Jesus on the cross giving up His life. I wonder if they remembered that night when the angel gave them – the Good News of Great Joy for all people – HE is the Savior.
Allow me to tie up all my random morning thoughts.
The bright, white snow covers up all the weeds, dog-doo and imperfections in the yard, so much so, I hate to disturb the blanket with my shovel. The snow is a pristine, white blanket that makes all the imperfections I left untended in the yard; perfect. Jesus came to make your imperfections perfect; white as snow, white as new wool. Sin’s terrible mark blotted out, by the most unlikely of solvents, Jesus’ blood.
Good News – Great Joy!
This news is so good, it was shouted by all the angels in heaven. The blinding light snapped the shepherds from their ho-hum, complacent, everyday life into an exciting quest, the search for a baby born to save humanity. Let Jesus grab your attention this Christmas. Let God’s love for you blind you, snap you out of your everyday, ho-hum existence and catapult you into a new life.
Good news? You bet! Your imperfections turn into perfect righteousness by the blood of Jesus. WOW! That is Good News! You don’t have to fix yourself. God provided the perfect fix.
Great joy? No question. The shepherds sought out the baby. They didn’t stop looking until they found the gift the angel proclaimed. If you have not seen Jesus yet – look no further. He’s here! Accept the gift of God’s love and you will find joy, great joy.
If this is not a new story to you, let the light brighten your spirit. Mimic the shepherd’s response to this Great News – tell everyone – A SAVIOR IS BORN!