Scripture Reading: Luke 2:1-20, Galatians 4:1-7
“The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had seen and heard, which were just as they had been told.”
- Luke 2:20
Those shouts of praise had been a long time coming. For generations, God’s people had been promised a Messiah—a Rescuer, a Redeemer. For generations, they looked for Him to come. And when He did, He came quietly, meekly. Were it not for the angels’ singing, would the shepherds have known? The appearance of heavenly host made it clear: this was not to be missed.
“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and peace on earth to people he favors!”
- Luke 2:14
And who did He favor, but these unsuspecting shepherds guarding their flocks in the dark? They were society’s figurative and literal outcasts, existing in the margins and living with livestock. But the angel did not mince words; this announcement was for them. “Today in the city of David a Savior was born for you…” (v. 11). All the waiting—from generation to generation, from throne rooms to sheeps’ fields—had not been in vain.
The baby in the manger is every promise of God fulfilled (2 Corinthians 1:20). He is the Son of God, the great light to the nations. He is the King of kings and the Prince of peace. He is faithful love and eternal hope.
This is the news the angels sang from the sky over the fields of Bethlehem that night. These men who had the unclean job of keeping the lambs that would be sacrificed at the temple for the sins of the people, were the first to hear that the true Passover Lamb—the spotless sacrifice born to atone for the sins of the world—had come.
This is Christmas—good news of great joy for the shepherds sitting outside the city in the dark. Good news of great joy for us, right where we are.
Luke’s Gospel says when the angels left after that glorious announcement, the shepherds looked at one another and said, “Let’s go straight to Bethlehem and see what has happened, which the Lord has made known to us” (Luke 2:15). Oh, that we would do the same on this Christmas day!
Wherever you are today—whatever your longing, your need, your shortcomings, your circumstance—go straight to Bethlehem. See the baby lying in a manger, born to set us free from sin and death. See the God Most High who made Himself low. See the living, breathing hope that is for all people. Let the realities of this complicated, beautiful, broken world be enveloped in the truth that is above all truths: The Lord, your Savior, has come. Joy to the world.
A Prayer for The Nativity of Our Lord: Christmas Day
Almighty God, you have given your only begotten Son to take our nature upon Him, and to be born this day of a pure virgin: Grant that we, who have been born again and made your children by adoption and grace, may daily be renewed by your Holy Spirit; through our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom with you and the same Spirit be honor and glory, now and forever. Amen.