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A Shining Light!

We have been talking about the characteristics of God revealed in the Christmas story. I would like us today to consider the characteristics of God’s abounding love and compassion in His bestowing the first news of His Son’s birth to humble shepherds. We read in Luke’s gospel, “Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone round them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord,” (Luke 2:8-11 NKJV). It’s incredible to me that these shepherds, who were simply doing their job, should be the first to hear of the revelation of the coming Messiah. Bethlehem was only a short distance from Jerusalem and probably many of the sheep that were under their care were sheep that would be used in Temple sacrifices. The shepherds, who tended their flock day and night, all year round, were responsible for the care of the sheep that would eventually be used in Temple worship.

  It is therefore totally appropriate that these men would be there first to hear about and see the birth of the one who would be the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world. But think of God’s love and compassion for these individuals. First, they saw this amazing light, “and the glory of the Lord shone around them”, and then they heard this astonishing message. The fact that these men were laborers and toilers, indicates to us that just as the angel said the news of Jesus’s birth is great news for “all people”. God’s love and compassion for these shepherds is seen in the comforting words of the angel that they should not be fearful because what they were about to hear would be life-changing and amazing. To think that these men would not only receive the message about Messiah’s birth, but they would proceed to find Him in a manger, where they would be the first eyewitnesses to the declaration of the angel to them. They responded appropriately to God’s love and compassion towards them in bringing this message to them by putting their feet into action and going and finding the Lord Jesus Christ. This was a night never to be forgotten in their lives. I think for each and every one of us who have had a living encounter with the Lord Jesus Christ, well that is an experience that should never be forgotten in our hearts and lives.

  The Scripture says that after finding the baby Jesus they returned to their jobs forever changed. We read, “Then the shepherds returned, and glorifying God and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen as it was told them,” (Luke 2:20 NKJV). The shepherds returned to their work, but their work was never the same. I’m sure that they had many opportunities to declare the majesty and blessedness of the events that happened that night in their lives. God’s love and compassion were spread forth by the declaration of these shepherds, regarding the birth of Christ the Lord. 

   Did they have all their theological questions answered or fully understood what it meant that the little baby they saw would one day become the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world? I don’t think so. But I believe that didn’t stop them from declaring what had actually happened and what they’d fully experienced. Scripture reminds us, “Let the redeemed of the Lord say so” (Ps.107:2 NKJV). Let’s make sure that we are also taking the time to tell others about the wonderful experience of knowing and living in the Lord Jesus Christ. We have the greatest message ever entrusted to mankind, let’s make sure we’re not keeping it to ourselves!

 Celebrating the Lamb,

Pastor Rich Sivo

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