Angels and Shepherds

Christmas Eve | December 24, 2018

Isaiah 62:6-12  •  Psalm 97  •  Titus 3:4-7  •  Luke 2:(1-7), 8-20

That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, 10 but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. 11 The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! 12 And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in highest heaven,
    and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”

15 When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

16 They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. 17 After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. 18 All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished,19 but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often. 20 The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them.

Luke 2:8-20 New Living Translation (NLT)

Earlier today, we looked at Luke’s account of Mary and Joseph in Bethlehem and how Jesus was born. This evening we look at the 2nd half of Luke’s nativity account.

I can only imagine being out in the fields at night. When we think of angels – we think of the word “angelic.” However, I believe that angels were quite scary – after all – in the accounts of angels meeting humans, their first words are “Do not be afraid!” I guess I think of angels looking like the angels in “The Bible” miniseries – Ninja Angels. I mean after all angels are part of God’s army. Angels were and still are scary creatures. Most shepherds were young – like David – and they were the lowest of the low on the social scale. And yet, God chooses to announce the birth of God with us to the shepherds first – and they are the first ones to go see Jesus.

As we concluded this morning we looked at the last thing the angels departed from the shepherds. When the angels leave, the shepherds decide to go check out the birth of the baby. They are the most socialized people, so I sure they go stumbling into town – waking all the people – looking for a baby. When they finally find him, they are amazed…As they leave the manger – the leave town and tell everyone about the birth of Jesus and the people are amazed. What a great story. Several weeks ago, I talked about the shepherds in my message. Were the people amazed at the shepherd’s story because it was a great story – after all, who doesn’t like a great story- – or were they amazed because they believed what the shepherds said. Christ the Savior of the world is born this night. He desires to have a relationship with you.

What does the Christmas story mean to you? Are you amazed because it is a great story, or because Jesus really is the Savior of the world? Think about it.

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