And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby,
keeping watch over their flocks at night.
An angel of the Lord appeared to them,
and the glory of the Lord shone around them,
and they were terrified.
(What a wonder that the news of the Messiah,
the announcement to a world desperate for His appearing,
was made to a group of lowly shepherds,
rough men of the field who worked with their hands, common laborers,
who shared some of the lowest levels in the social hierarchy.)
But the angel said to them,
“Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy
that will be for all the people.
Today in the town of David, a Savior has been born to you;
He is Christ the Lord.
(And to us today as we put our own name here,
this Savior has been born to us,
as well as to those shepherds and the rest of the world!)
This will be a sign to you:
You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.
(To make sure we find the One for Whom we are looking,
the Lord gives us clear and specific ways
to recognize this Savior even today.
When we open our eyes to look for Him,
the Lord makes sure He will be found by us.)
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel,
praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to men on whom His favor rests.”
(The Lord’s favor rests on us today,
and He grants His peace that passes all human understanding to us
in whatever situation we are in today!
His favor and peace are more than sufficient,
more than adequate, more than enough for whatever needs we have today!)
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven,
the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem
and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
(Why would the angels announce the good news to shepherds?
How would these shepherds know what manger to hunt for and where to find it?
In those days right outside Bethlehem,
shepherds regularly raised and nurtured the choicest, finest sheep
to use in the priests’ temple sacrifices,
and these shepherds knew well where the stable and manger were
because this was the place where they took the sheep
that were chosen to be sacrificed in the temple offerings.
The angels had trumpeted their good news
to the lowly, insignificant caretakers of the sacrificial lambs
used in the sacrificial offerings of the temple,
and the angels called the shepherds now to witness the birth of THE sacrifice!
What a gift! How God elevates the lowly to heights of honor!
How He still honors us with the good news of the Savior’s birth!)
So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph,
and the Baby, Who was lying in the manger.
(May we today be as quick to run to and seek Jesus
as were these uneducated, ordinary, and poor men
who left their fields and their agendas behind as they sought out the Lord.)
When they had seen them, 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.
(Although the men returned to their flocks,
they would never be the same again.
They were forever changed men.
We are changed forever when we encounter the living God!
He chose to give us the most He could give,
the most wonderful gift of all of life, the gift of Himself!
What a God, the One who deserves all glory and all our praise!)
May the Lord richly bless you this day!
In Christ's love,
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