Luke 2:8-15 That night some shepherds were in the fields outside the village, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, and angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terribly frightened, but the angel reassured them, “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news of great joy for everyone! The Savior---yes, the Messiah, the Lord---has been born tonight in Bethlehem the city of David! And this is how you will recognize him: You will find a baby lying in a manger, wrapped snugly in strips of cloth!” Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others---the armies of heaven---praising God: “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to all whom God favors.” When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Come on, let’s go to Bethlehem! Let's see this wonderful thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
There are a lot of things we can observe from this miraculous night of our Savior’s birth. The night started out like any other night; the shepherds were watching over their sheep, protecting them from any potential predators and from wandering away. They were not expecting anything unusual in the night; they were simply occupying. The Lord often shows up in our lives when we are just doing what we normally do, living out our lives humbly before Him.
When the angel from heaven appeared in the night sky, the shepherds were terrified. Who can blame them? Many times when the Lord speaks, we become frightened. We don’t know what is coming next.
The message that the angel brought to the shepherds was good news, great news, generous news and grand news. Jesus, the promised Messiah, had come! It was news of great joy for everyone. It was the best news that man had ever heard. It was news for all the ages; Christ the Savior was born! They were told where to find Him and how they would find Him.
It that was not enough to forever change the shepherds’ lives, the angel was joined by the angelic choir singing the praises of our Immanuel, Jesus our Lord. The shepherds were left speechless. Who could blame them? They hurriedly left and went into town to find the Christ child. When they found Him, they went and told everybody they could what had happened and who they found. I wonder, how often we get so excited by what the Lord says to us that we just are compelled to go and tell others about it?
I am intrigued by this part of the Christmas story. Were the shepherds the only ones who say the angel, the angelic host, or heard their message? Scripture says that the glory of God filled the sky. I would think that everyone for miles around would have seen the sight, but we are not told that they did. And if they did, why aren’t we told that a great crowd of people filled the streets of Bethlehem in search of the Christ child? You would think that this was an event that would have forever changed all who were in town that night.
Yet, we are told that later on Herod and the religious leaders in the land did not know Jesus had been born. When the magi showed up two years later, they were caught off guard and had to inquire about it.
Let us be very careful that we don’t miss the wondrous signs the Lord gives us. Just like signs preceded His first coming, there are many signs given that are preceding His second coming. God is giving us plenty of signs to prepare us for His coming. Are you paying attention? Are you ready? Jesus will come again like a thief in the night; no one knows when, but I believe it will be very soon. Don’t be like those in Jesus’ day who missed the signs announcing His birth. Live each day in readiness and you won’t be left behind.