In those days Caesar Augustus declared that everyone throughout the empire should be enrolled in the tax lists. 2 This first enrollment occurred when Quirinius governed Syria. 3 Everyone went to their own cities to be enrolled. 4 Since Joseph belonged to David’s house and family line, he went up from the city of Nazareth in Galilee to David’s city, called Bethlehem, in Judea. 5 He went to be enrolled together with Mary, who was promised to him in marriage and who was pregnant. 6 While they were there, the time came for Mary to have her baby. 7 She gave birth to her firstborn child, a son, wrapped him snugly, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the guestroom.
8 Nearby shepherds were living in the fields, guarding their sheep at night. 9 The Lord’s angel stood before them, the Lord’s glory shone around them, and they were terrified.
10 The angel said, “Don’t be afraid! Look! I bring good news to you—wonderful, joyous news for all people. 11 Your savior is born today in David’s city. He is Christ the Lord. 12 This is a sign for you: you will find a newborn baby wrapped snugly and lying in a manger.” 13 Suddenly a great assembly of the heavenly forces was with the angel praising God. They said, 14 “Glory to God in heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors.”
Visitations by heavenly messengers, or angels, must be truly terrifying because angels immediately say, “Do not be afraid!” But whether its the startling heavenly visitation or the message that is about to be delivered, there’s one thing you can count on-you will never be the same. This about to be divulged message is going to be a call to action from God that will not only change your life, but change all of history.
So when the great company of the heavenly host lights up the night sky with joy and celebration, because God has come to dwell among us and the long awaited Messiah is born, it’s more than the shepherds can comprehend. How could they believe that the divine love of God is in a lowly manger among animals, because there was no room for him?
The angelic proclamation of the birth of the Savior of the world is announced to lowly outcast shepherds who are told to seek out the helpless babe in a manger. How is this good news for the shepherds? God has given them, outcasts, a sign in the form of the baby in a manger and sent the angel’s with the good news of joy and peace, of salvation and blessing. This good news is irresistible to the shepherds. They must go and seek the baby, they must tell everyone about the angel’s good news for all people.
Salvation has come to all people bringing us great joy and peace, and our lives have never been the same.
We may never see an angel or hear the choirs of angels singing for joy, but the good news is still shared from person to person. The love and grace of God shines through Jesus the Christ into our hearts bringing us joy and peace, salvation and blessing, for though we are not worthy, yet we are made new in Christ. We, like the shepherds, also seek the promise in the manger, and finding God’s grace and love we are forever changed. Finding such peace and joy, we must go and share the good news. We tell others, “No matter what is happening in the world, or happening in your life, don’t be afraid, I’ve got good news for you!”
by Jeneene Reduker
For Pondering & Prayer
Hearing God’s call to action in your life, how will you respond? Who is God calling you to share the good news of Jesus Christ with so that their life may be filled with joy? If you are worried about how to do this, hear the words of the angel, “Don’t be afraid.”
Prayer: Holy and Loving God, we look to the sign of your love, the Christ child, lying in the manager. Help us to respond to your call to share the good news of Jesus Christs with others. Amen.