Monday Morning Devotion-December 11, 2023
About Those Shepherds
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 of great joy that will be for all people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:8-10
Have you ever been surprised by God? Sure you have. If you are like me this mysterious God has surprised you in tough times as well as times of happiness and joy. Each of these times remind me of just how unpredictable God can be but, I’m also reminded that he is there for me all the time.
As we enter the Advent season and we count down the days until, once again, we celebrate the birth of the Christ Child. The birth of Jesus was the biggest cause for celebration in History. God sent his Son “not to condemn” this fallen world but “to save the world through Him.”
Now that’s a big deal. The word needed to get out about this. People had to hear about it and there was no 6 pm news on television because there was no TV. No reporters were out in the fields looking for a scoop for the daily newspaper. There was no newspaper.
But the word that this birth had occurred had to get out somehow. Somebody or some group of people had to be told about this birth and how important it was. But who?
Maybe they should go tell King Herod. No way. Every story has a villain. And this jealous King is the villain in this story. That’s why Jesus wasn’t born in a castle but was born in an unlikely place for a king to be born. In a stable. He was lying in a manger which is a place where animals find their food.
So, God revealed this Holy birth to the Shepherds. Say what? Shepherds. No way! Yes way. But, why? “Nobody ever brought good news to shepherds.”
In www.pursuegod.org/Thesheperdsstory we read; “The life of an ancient shepherd was a difficult one at best. It was a life for loners who were often treated like a bunch of losers. Shepherds were seen as outsiders, looked down upon, resented, made fun of, and despised by the rest of the community. Their reputation was so bad that they were not permitted to give testimony in a court of law because they were thought to be untrustworthy.”
So, again. Shepherds? The Quest Study Bible says: “perhaps the common shepherds were more receptive to God’s plan than, say, the religious leaders in Jerusalem …Shepherds may have been chosen because they represented all who needed cleansing. Jesus was a king for all those humble enough to see their need for a Savior.”
The shepherds were out in the field, minding their own business, watching over and protecting their sheep. When the sky exploded before their very eyes. The first thing the angel said to them was; “do not be afraid.” Right! That’s easy for you to say, angel. Those shepherds had never seen anything like this, neither had anybody else. They were shaking in their sandals.
Their night watch had turned into a nightmare. This was a sudden surprise. More like an instant shock. But the angel quickly reassured them: “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people”. Huh? What is this big news?
“Today in the City of David. a Savior has been born to you.”
Who? Us? A bunch of lowly shepherds just tending to business.
The angel continued: “He is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you that you will find the baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
Suddenly there wasn’t just one angel but the sky was full of angels. It was like the entire heaven was so bright they would need to put on sunglasses, but they hadn’t been invented yet. And all of these angels were singing. “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom His favor rests.”
The surprise was over and it was time for action. They turned to each other and said; “Let us go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has told us about.”
So, they zipped on down to town and found that stable. Luke 2:16. “They hurried off and found Mary and Joseph and the baby, who was lying in the manger.” Just like they were told by the angel.
Then, who needs television when you got a bunch of shepherds. “When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what they been told about this child,
and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.”
In her book “An Unlikely Advent” Rachell Billups asks; “Could it be that we have gotten the shepherds all wrong? Could it be that we are looking in the wrong places for signs…There was no fear in shepherds. No regard for what others thought about their position or reputation. Those shepherds let loose on anyone who was willing to listen. They told everyone what the angels had said about this child. God had shown up in their ordinary lives. What a sign and what a story.
“That is the Bible. The Christmas story is full of the unlikely; an unlikely teenage girl becomes pregnant with the Holy Spirit. God rejected the powerful and those who are seated in palaces and selects a very unlikely place for the birth of God’s one and only Son: Bethlehem.
“The sign was strange. Jesus’s birth seems tucked away, nearly hidden from the eyes of anyone who was anyone. No Facebook, Instagram, Linked in or Twitter. …at the very core of this story was humility. God showed up. This baby-king was born in a stable.”
Look for your sign from God this Christmas. It could come from a very unlikely place.
Prayer: Lord help us have the faith that the shepherds showed this Christmas and may the birth of our Savior, the Lord Jesus, send a special message to our hearts. Amen!