In light of the recent Winter Solstice where we had a total Lunar Eclipse concurrently, I think it’s appropriate to talk about keeping watch in the darkness. In The Bible, Luke writes:
“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger. Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”” (Luke 2:8-14).
The first Christmas found faithful shepherds doing their duties in a field nearby where Jesus, The Messiah, Savior of the World, Our Lord, was born. The fact they were nearby is no mystery, Bethlehem is an area where there is good grazing at certain times of the year, whether that’s in winter is not the question here. The most interesting thing about the shepherds who were nearby where Jesus was born was their response. Luke goes on to write:
“When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.’ So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.” (Luke 2: 15-18).
Thus, these shepherds, these simple men who probably had done nothing in their lives other than tend sheep, these same men became the first Evangelists! They helped spread the word, the “Good News” of Jesus’ birth, long foretold in Israel. When the time was full, when conditions were right, Our Savior came into the world to show us a way out of sin and depravity. He came that we might have eternal life. Even then, at the time when Rome was master of half the known world, when roads were well developed, sea transport was readily available, and the written languages had been refined to the point where the message of The Gospel could be easily spread, God still chose simple men to be the first to receive and pass on the news of Christ’s birth!
The question today is still the same , whether The Lord has found us, like these shepherds, ready to receive the Good News, that is Jesus’ Gospel of Peace that is for all mankind? Are we ready today to accept Him as Messiah, as Lord and Savior, and are we ready to testify to others that by simple faith they too can know peace and joy that passes all understanding? Even in our modern, hectic (frantic) world? Can we truly say that Jesus is the answer to all of life’s problems? My answer is absolutely yes, because Jesus Himself testified as to what our world would be like. Does our world tend towards the light of Jesus’ truth or does it chase after something that Solomon called vanity?
Merry Christmas! May the light of God’s truth guide you today into all joy and peace. May you find a way to penetrate the darkness and make a difference in the life of someone less fortunate. That’s what Jesus said we should do in response if we have been touched by his love and goodness. Love is an action verb so go out and share your joy with others this Christmas.