2023 Advent Devotional - Luke 2:8-14 (Day 23)

Luke 2: 8-14

The Shepherds and the Angels

 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 great fear.  And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.  And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths 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,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

For just an instant the sky lit up with angels, yet who saw it?

The shepherds in the field that night were ready for lions, lost lambs, or maybe a late dinner - but encountering the glory of God was not on the list - but then, why would it be?  They weren't Torah experts, they were far from the temple, and they were doing a job that was the envy of absolutely no one.  The promised Messiah was likely very far from their minds.

Then, into that dark night, the glory of the Lord appeared and they were terrified. The scene must have been breathtaking.  Did they realize that this was God's cosmic plan unfolding right before their eyes?  Fear gave way to great joy - the long-awaited One had arrived and the heavens opened with singing and rejoicing angels. The waiting and the searching, the achings and the groanings centuries old were answered at last.

The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.

The first to hear this history-altering news were also the least likely.  Shepherds' witness to anything wasn't even admissible in a Roman court!  Yet these humble shepherds were chosen by God to be the world's first missionaries, to bear witness and be dignified by God to spread this joyous news of the in-breaking Kingdom.  Here again, as He loves to do, God is inverting the world's social order.

The angel tells these men, this is who He is!  Savior, Christ, Lord.  In these three titles the angel clearly announces Jesus' mission, Jesus' royalty, and Jesus' authority.

And, this is how you'll find Him - wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger

Is the angelic message still good news?  For everyone?   The fact that the shepherds were the very first to hear, tells us all that the kingdom of God isn't just for the insiders, but for the outsiders.

It is for the higher ups and the cast aside.  It is for the seekers, the knockers and the flagrant sinners.  It is for the proud and the humble, the elevated and the marginalized, the rich and the poor, the seeing and the blind.  It is good news for you and it is good news for me.  But who will be receptive? Those who know their need.  Those in darkness have seen a great light.  Hope has landed.  A Savior has come. He is Christ, the Lord.
- By Stacia Eversole

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