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 fear. (Luke 2:8-9 ESV)
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!” (Luke 2:13-14 ESV)
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 . . . (Luke 2:15-16 ESV)
As Christmas approaches, my heart is beating faster. This past Sunday, our pastor asked us to reenter the story with a fresh perspective. Eyes to see. Ears to hear. Hearts to comprehend. An invitation to welcome Christmas once again.
We watch with the shepherds as they encounter the glory of God. Great fear and trembling overcomes them. The mighty messenger angel calms their fears. And just as they are beginning to recover, ten thousands of thousands, a multitude of more angels proclaims the greatest news—“A Savior has been born in Bethlehem! Just like God said! All glory and honor and praise and majesty be unto His name!”
The angels part just as suddenly as they appeared. The shepherds have seen the glory of God! Their hearts race, their minds whir and their bodies move. They make haste. “Let’s go see this thing!” And the thing they find—A mother and a father with a baby lying in a manger. This thing that happened was made known to them by God, to mere shepherds whom no one would even ask to represent them on the witness stand in a law of court.
But God. God chooses them to be His first witnesses, the first ones to hear the good news proclaimed and see it fulfilled— the first ones to testify to the world: “We have seen our Savior. We have been in the presence of God. He has been born among us.”
The shepherds return to their flocks. Praising and glorifying. Hooting and hollering. Causing a stir in the community: “Will wonders never cease?” Causing a mother to ponder and treasure: “Can it be that my God should be born for me?”