from Lynda Lindsey
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 the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Luke 2:8-12
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.” Luke 2:13-14
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” Luke 2:15
It is popular in today’s society to act world-weary, cynical, disenchanted. Perhaps it’s not an act. To openly express joy and delight leaves us accused of being naive, gullible, easily taken in and deceived. This attitude of I’ve-seen-it-all-done-it-all-nothing-can-shake-me-from-my-lethargy has been around since Solomon’s day; it continues to make a resurgence. It actually has a basis in fact: life apart from God is meaningless and we go through our days lifeless, disengaged. Shepherds, camped in fields outside Bethlehem on the evening of Jesus’ birth, were dutifully caring for their sheep when they had a terrifying experience, one calculated to shake anyone’s sense of boredom.
The darkness was suddenly pierced by an angel from the Lord with a message of Good News: Jesus Christ the Lord, a Savior, had just been born. Then a huge company, a multitude of angelic beings, resplendent and shining with God’s radiant glory, illuminated the sky, all praising and glorifying God. The sign of this truth? The shepherds would find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger in Bethlehem. Astonished, the shepherds hurriedly set out to see for themselves what had been told them. How fitting that shepherds, not necessarily considered the highest class citizens, were the first summoned to see and worship the Lamb of God.
Once the shepherds saw Mary, Joseph, and the newborn baby, they departed joyfully, glorifying and praising God, spreading the word about the things they had been told and had personally witnessed. Caught up in the drama of a baby’s birth announced by hosts of angels, the shepherds response was anything but cynical. The shepherds let their joy show; that joy spread, rippling out like waves in a pond, touching all they encountered. Shepherds, witnesses to the truth of the Gospel, spread the Gospel, and all who heard it were amazed and in awe. To live in awe and wonder of God is often terrifying…in the best of ways; it’s also a sure cure for world-weary cynicism! Give it a try; it’s a refreshing change!