Now in that same region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for see, I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph and the child lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them, and Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, just as it had been told them.
This is one of those passages that we hear every year at Christmas time so it is easy to overlook. It is important to note that the shepherds are societal outcasts. Yet, God delivers the good news to them first. God’s salvation and the “good news of great joy” has been sent for ALL people. They respond with praise and then share with others about what they heard and experienced.
“Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart.” I wonder how often we stop and ponder the events of the nativity in our heart. To stop and really focus on what actually happened is a show stopper. The Creator of everything sent his son in the form of a fragile and dependent little baby. And this baby is going to show us how to live according to God’s plans. In fact, this child will not only live for us, but die for us as well; all in the name of helping us learn how to be God’s people marked by gratitude, grace, and love. The only response to this story is one of gratitude and praise. Just as the angels and shepherds did, we too are moved to respond by praising God and seeking peace. May we praise God today and share this peace with all those we meet.
Merciful God, we give You thanks for the gift of Jesus Christ. We praise You and celebrate the miracle of Christmas morning. Empower us to share this good news with others and to seek peace in our words and actions. Amen.