Thank You to Ann Schwarm for another perfect Advent Devotional.
Daily Scripture Reading: Luke 2:8-21
The Angelic Announcement
Angels and Shepherds! Talk about two ends of a spectrum. When I think of angels, I imagine them as pure white with “the glory of the Lord” shining around them. Shepherds on the other hand, I know a little bit more about. I know folks who work with livestock and it can be a dirty, gritty job. Sheep smell. So, I’m guessing these shepherds were a motley crew, at the very least.
But God didn’t send His messengers to announce the birth of His Son to the mayor of Bethlehem, to the wealthiest shop owners, or even to that prosperous “the Inn is full” innkeeper. No, God sent his angelic hosts to the shepherds. These weren’t just any ole lowly shepherds. These were the guys who drew the night shift, they were the lowliest of the low. Uneducated, under skilled and on this night, unknowing.
Their first reaction to seeing an angel is probably what mine would have been. Fear! They clearly were not expecting to see an angel and receive this holy message. But, once they had heard the gloria chorus from the “great company of heavenly hosts,” the first angel’s counterparts, the crew took action. They said to one another “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” It wasn’t a factfinding, verification mission. Instead, it was a journey to see their Savior. Then, off they went, telling everyone they met about what they had seen. Doubts and fears had been replaced by “glorifying and praising God for all they things they had heard and seen….”
But, again, why shepherds? I think the answer is found in verse 10. The angel said, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people….” If the shepherds, the guys on the night shift, the lowliest of lows, heard “the good news” first, that must mean that everybody, “all the people” are “in.” God made it very clear, I believe, by His choice of messengers that no one is excluded from hearing and receiving the good news that Christ, the Savior, is born.
Let’s be like the shepherds and “spread the word.”
If you had been standing on a cold hillside outside of Bethlehem and an angel appeared to you, what would have been your first reaction? Your next reaction?
Imagine the shepherds leaving the stable where they found the Christ child. Whom do you think they encountered on their way back to their jobs watching the sheep? How do you think the shepherds delivered the message to these people?
What can you learn from the shepherds which will enrich your Advent experience?
Dear Lord, What a picture you create for us through your Holy scripture of the night Jesus Christ was born. Thank you! Help us to use our imaginations to place ourselves in that time and place so that we might feel the full impact of the experience. Bless us with both the sense of wonder and the courage of the shepherds. Thank you for using these humble messengers to deliver your Holy announcement. In Christ’s name we pray. Amen.
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