“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.” Luke 2:8
I can only imagine the scene. These young men, settling in for another long and hopefully uneventful night with their sheep. Last night had been long and hard. Maybe they would get some sleep tonight. Maybe not. They could never be too sure, but I would think that each of them never could have anticipated what awaited them in the sky that night. They were just going about their daily, mundane routine. Nothing special about this night, or so it seemed. Why would their be? They were lowly shepherds and nothing more.
“An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.” Luke 2:9
Suddenly, the sky lit up as if it were on fire. Maybe it awoke them from deep slumber. Perhaps they thought at first they were only dreaming. But the lights were too bright and the glory of it all too awesome to be mistaken for anything but reality. And then, it spoke to them.
“But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.” Luke 2:10
What made them worthy of such a royal announcement? Why would the angel of the Lord choose to pay them, of all people, a holy visit? The shock in their eyes was no doubt mixed with terror as the angel assured them that they had no reason to be afraid. Good news that would bring great joy awaited them in a small town called Bethlehem. News they had waited for their whole lives.
“Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:11
The long, awaited, expected Messiah had finally come? And this glorious news was gifted to them? How could this be? What on earth could this mean? The One who would redeem Israel had finally come for His people. The Savior, Christ the Lord. The One on whom they had waited for so long was now among them. What else could they do but abandon their post and run in search of this new born King.
Do we wait in such eager anticipation to celebrate Christ’s birth? Do we celebrate as the shepherds did? Do we allow such a holy interruption into the mundane of our own lives? Just days now lie between us and Christmas this year. What are you anticipating? What are you longing for?
Come, thou long expected Jesus. We wait for you. We celebrate you. We rejoice in the gift of your birth.