advent lettering

O Come All Ye Faithful

The Shepherds

Today's Reading

Luke 2:1-20

We experience new things every day. We may try a new restaurant or hear a new song, or maybe it’s the new app that you discovered or a quicker route to work. Often, the new becomes so mundane that we don’t even realize it is new.

But then there are those times when the new changes everything, and in your heart, you feel a well of excitement that you just can’t contain, and you have to share the news with everyone.

Remember those moments. Now multiply them by a thousand, and you have close to what those random shepherds felt.

There they were, minding their own business when suddenly the angel appears. By now in the Christmas story we see this is the fourth time an angel appeared on the scene—first to Zechariah, then to Mary, and then to Joseph. That makes sense. Each of these individuals had a major role to fill in the life of the Savior. But these guys? They are just shepherds, outcasts in society, always suspected of theft, physically dirty from a life lived outdoors, spiritually unclean for failing to follow the Law. 

They were lying down in the dark with their sheep when—boom! The night sky lit up, and then began a roller coaster of emotions. First, terror….not just fear, but terror. Then probably confusion….I mean, they had never seen an angel before. Afterwards came the questions or maybe the surprise—“A Savior is born?”—followed by the amazement as the heavenly choir entered the stage and began to sing a song so melodious that they become excited.

“Let’s go now!” they exclaimed to one another.

Hurrying to town, they almost couldn’t believe what they had seen. That sense of overwhelming excitement just bubbled over, and everyone they saw, they told. They were unable to contain what they knew.

You really can’t top that experience. An entire band of angels came and started praising God and saying,” Glory to God in the highest.” These guys were told about the coming of the Lord, and they were able to see Him that evening. Amazing! What they saw, what they experienced, what they felt—they had to tell.

But perhaps that experience can be topped. After all, the shepherds had to go home at some point. They had a great story, but they weren’t able to live within that same story. They couldn’t stay with Mary and Joseph, and they couldn’t take the baby or the angels home with them.

For those who have believed in the baby, though, the experience is even better. This great story, of God revealing His heart to the world, happens every time we open the Scripture and sense the power of the Spirit. The witness of the baby happens every day when we know that we have the privilege to let Jesus live in our hearts. We never have to walk away from the manger scene because it is present each and every day for us.

Shouldn’t that excite us? Shouldn’t the truth of the everlasting story cause us to be overcome with excitement?

This Christmas, let the excitement flow, and let that excitement compel you to spread the word about all that you have seen and heard about this child. And when you do, people will be amazed. They were amazed 2,000 years ago, and they will still be amazed today.

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