The day after Christmas is kind of a bummer. The presents have been unwrapped. Extended family may be gone, and we’ve eaten so much sugar we can’t bear the thought of another cookie. Every year that stuff comes and goes, but the best stuff keeps coming. The Christmas story doesn’t end when Jesus is placed in a manger. As we ask God to show us the story with new eyes this week, it’s worth taking a look at what happened after Jesus arrived.
Today we take a look at the shepherds.
And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, "Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the 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 for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger." And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!"
When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us." And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them (Luke 2:8–18).
Our Christmas pageants and stories tend to read into this passage. I’ve often heard that shepherds were low on the totem pole of society in Jesus’ day. (And that they were often stinky.) We’re made to think of them as average Joes or even social outcasts. I don’t know if any of that is true. But from this passage it’s clear that they were just people, minding their own business, when God interrupted their lives.
They were simply tending sheep when first one angel and then a bunch of angels appeared with news about a baby Savior.
I can also tell from this passage that they weren’t too busy with business as usual to get up and move when God showed up. "They went with haste" to find the baby the angels told them about.
They also seemed to be blabbermouths of the best kind. They told everyone who would listen what they saw and heard. They were the first evangelists to tell about Jesus.
Of all of the people in the Christmas story, perhaps we should most try to be like the shepherds. With that in mind, here are some questions to ponder today.
- Do you allow God to interrupt your life/day or do you only respond to Him when it’s convenient or scheduled?
- When God prompts you to move, change, or listen, do you obey "with haste" or drag your feet?
- When was the last time you told others about Jesus?