Shepherds

The shepherds don’t always get a lot of spot light in the Jesus nativity narrative, yet I find their encounter and response applicable to our own Christmas preparation.

Luke 2:8-20 (NIV):

“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. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.’

Suddenly, a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.’ 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.’

So, they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, 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.”

The shepherds were just minding their own business as they worked in the field; a time of the year seemingly like any other. That is, until an angel appeared surrounding them with the glory of the Lord. They were terrified, but the angel told them there is good news on the way that will bring great joy. I find this phrase humbling during the Advent season. The glory of the Lord is around us, but instead of seeing it as glory, we see it as a long to-do list that gets longer and longer despite the days feeling shorter and shorter. Yet, there is good news in the midst of all the chaos if we choose to pause our busy lives and listen.

  • At every store the bells ring, reminding us this season is a time for giving, just as Christ was GIVEN to us.
  • Houses and trees are decked in lights to remind us that the Light of the World is coming.
  • Christmas trees that point towards heaven are put up and decorated.
  • Christmas music plays on the radio providing a clear picture – like the angel’s message – and we start to hear it as “glory to God in the highest heaven”.

When we reflect on these “glories” all around us, we receive the message of the good news and great joy that is coming – the same good news and great joy that happened 2,000 years ago. We are once again reminded of the reason for the season, and we can finally prepare our hearts and minds in haste, as the shepherds did, to see Jesus. We hang lights, decorate trees, wrap presents, attend extra church services, and join in advent devotionals as we count down the days to the coming Christ child. The pages on our advent calendars turn as the shepherds journey grows them closer and closer to the manger, until at last, Christmas is here! Finally, we can rest, amazed at the sight of our Savior. We can bask in his glory and go on like the shepherds did, glorifying and praising God for all that we have seen and heard. We can now reflect and ponder His birth as we begin looking forward to the Easter season, which is to come.

Written By: Lindsey Duerr, DCE