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.”
Luke 2:8-14 NIV
Tears sprung to my eyes when I read this passage during my quiet time one morning. Such a quiet evening, sheep bleating in the night – shepherds faithfully standing watch. Imagine their surprise when the whole world above them exploded with joy and celebration at the announcement of the Newborn King. What a terrible, wonderful sight the angels made against the backdrop of an inky sky. How could the host of heaven contain their joy any longer? The One all of Heaven longed for and adored had come to earth to make His dwelling among men.
“I am the good shepherd;
I know my sheep and my sheep know me—
just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—
and I lay down my life for the sheep.”
These simple shepherds received an invitation to meet the one true Shepherd of their souls and the salvation of all mankind. Can’t you hear the heart of the Father? “Go and see the One who has been born to you.”
The angels told them what to look for – a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger. Imagine if the angels had told them just to find a baby wrapped in cloths. That was customary during their time and would have been a difficult task with all the souls in Jerusalem due to the census. But finding a baby in a manger – well, that was something entirely different. It’s not every day a child is born in a stall.
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.
They found Him, just as the angels promised.
The Father made sure His Son would be easily accessible to these searching shepherds. Other than His parents, they would be the first to gaze upon His face and adore Him on earth, just as He was adored in heaven.
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 joy of the angels had become their own. Their immediate response was to go and spread the news everywhere that the Messiah was born. When Christ is unveiled to the humble in heart, praise and adoration joyfully break out.
Through this remarkable story I see many ways to celebrate Christ.
We can shout it to the world that King Jesus has arisen in the darkness, just as the angels did long ago. We can look for Him as one would search for precious treasure alongside the shepherds and kneel in adoration at His feet. We can silently ponder the mysteries of Christ within our hearts as Mary did. In joy we can go and tell all who will listen that the Messiah has come.
Birthed in the darkness of night, our Messiah came to die. It was His earthly assignment to abolish sin and give the Father the greatest gift of all – a relationship with you. Just as the angels rejoiced the night Christ was born,
Heaven still rejoices when hearts turn from darkness
to say yes to the Light of the World
However you decide to celebrate this next Christmas Day, I pray that from the time your eyes open until you close them again in sleep that you will be keenly aware of the depth of God’s love and adoration for you. I pray this Christmas that you would be found fully satisfied in Him.
“I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power,
together with all the Lord’s holy people,
to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,
and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—
that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”
Lori Anderson-Bowen is the Charleston SC-C3 Prayer Team Leader and serves as the Prayer Ministry Director at Seacoast Church in Summerville, SC. She is passionate about hearing the voice of God and seeing people walk in freedom daily through the ministry of prayer. Lori is also a business partner with SC-C3 and is the proud owner of Andowen Photography. You can contact her directly at email@example.com