Though we think that we are already familiar with the Christmas story, in re-reading it with care, God will aways reveal to us new and fresh insights.
The Christmas story is found in Luke, the second chapter.
What was the role of the shepherds and how should we respond to their example?
According to Luke, the shepherds where going about the business of caring for their flock. It was night and they were on guard for predators that could take advantage of the darkness to attack their flock. They were alert to what was going on around them.
As they were keeping watch, suddenly, without warning an angel appeared to them.
The angel was not a sign of danger, but a messenger from God. The angel came bearing good news, not only to the shepherds, but to all mankind.
The angel then revealed to the shepherds the good news that God had sent his son, Jesus as the savior of the world. He was born that night not as an earthly king would have experienced, but as a lowly servant might have experienced.
The shepherds listened as the angel of God spoke to them. And as they listened the heavens echoed the message of the angel.
"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among people with whom He is pleased" Luke 2:14
And when the shepherds heard the message given to them by heaven, they took action. They traveled to see the Christ child for themselves.
In Bethlehem they found the baby, with Mary and Joseph, lying in a manger. They spoke to each other about this wonderful experience that God had brought about in their lives.
After seeing the mother and child, they departed.
And as they met other people, they told them of the blessing that they had experienced, spreading the good news that Christ the Savior had been born to all that they met.
God wants each of us to be shepherds. As we live our lives, He wants us to be vigilant. He wants us to listen when He speaks to us. He wants us to take action as He directs us. He wants us to experience the peace that our Savior brings to us. He wants us to tell others this good news that Christ has been born.
We thank you for the birth of our Savior. We thank you for the hope that He brings. Open our ears to your voice. Guide and direct our actions, making us willing to follow. Grant us courage to tell others of the good news that Christ brings to our lives. We pray in Christ's name.