And in the same area there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And then an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were very afraid.Luke 2:8–9 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
It was a night like any other for those shepherds. They were keeping watch over the clocks that would be used for the daily sacrifice in the temple in Jerusalem. From our perspective, shepherding is quaint and bucolic. Being a shepherd in that day was among the lowest of the rungs of that society. Meekly, they attended to their flocks with great care.
It was God (in Theophany) Who appeared to them suddenly. He came without notice of fanfare. His glory encompassed them in a flash. From darkness, it was suddenly brighter than daylight. It made them very afraid — as it would any of us.
But the angel said to them, “Listen! Do not fear. For I bring you good news of great joy, which will be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign to you: You will find the Baby wrapped in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”Luke 2:10–12 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
Fear not! It wasn’t a command to them. They are intended as words of comfort. God was announcing favor to those most undesirable. A shepherd’s testimony in that society trusted or even sought out. The favor announced to them wouldn’t be for them alone but to all people. Who could believe them?
Yet… This is Christmas!
God announces His favor to even you. I don’t know anything about you. If you’re like me, you couldn’t think God would be favorable in your direction. Yet He is. Christmas demonstrates it. For God has caused it to be written:
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulder. And his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.Isaiah 9:6 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
Unto us, a child is born. That is for you and me, too. He is born just a wee human Babe from our perspective. God gave dearly… A Son. He didn’t give just any Son, but His unique Son. There’s not another like Him anywhere.
This Babe would eventually rule the world. He would be wise beyond His years. He is God, the One Who brings peace.
These are the good tidings to all people. God has set aside His anger toward people. Glory goes to God. Yet in the transaction, we get goodwill and peace from Him.
Suddenly there was with the angel a company of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, and good will toward men.”Luke 2:13–14 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
Take His Gift to you.