The Shepherds and the Angels
Open Your Bible
Luke 2:1-20, Isaiah 9:2-7
BY Guest Writer
The ground must have felt unbearably cold, and the sky must have seemed a thousand shades darker. How do you go back to just herding sheep after that?
Being a sheep farmer myself, I can’t help but feel a kinship with the shepherds in the Christmas story. They were just doing their job, tending their sheep in a moonlit field, when an angel appeared to them and announced Christ’s birth (Luke 2:9–10).
Suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying:
Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and peace on earth to people he favors! (vv.13–14).
After what I imagine to be a supernatural concert, backlit by a cosmic light show, the shepherds raced into town to see the remarkable child. One minute they were staring at sheep, then a heavenly choir of angels, and then they were looking into the the tiny face of the Savior of mankind. Before Jesus’s newborn eyes had adjusted to see the sin-filled world He came to save, the shepherds got to gaze upon His wonderful face.
“The shepherds returned” (v.20)—to their jobs and their junk, their homes and herds, and to their desperate need for a Savior.
The shepherds were bearers of wonder (v.18). Their role in the story of Christ’s arrival was simply to marvel at the miraculous thing He accomplished for us, and their awe is contagious. We join them in declaring, “Let’s go straight to Bethlehem and see what has happened, which the Lord has made known to us” (v.15).
The joy of this season fades far too quickly. Soon enough we will pack holiday decorations back into dusty boxes. We will go back to mundane tasks, and in contrast to the brightness of Christmas, the world will seem a little darker, a little colder.
Perhaps declaring the wonder of Christmas is not the shepherds’ only job. They also show us how to carry on as we wait for the sky to light up again. For one day we “will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory” (Matthew 24:30).
Christ will come again for us, this time not as a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes, but as a victor, clothed in royal robes of glory (Revelation 19:16). For now, we live in the in-between—the space between His sacrifice and His second-coming, His birth and the day when He will make “all things new” (Revelation 21:5).
The shepherds lit a spark that first Christmas. It’s a light that gets passed between us as we wait for Christ to come again. May we remain wonder-bearers, marveling at the miracle of Christ’s arrival, even in the darkness. And like those shepherds, may our hearts be filled with joy and thanksgiving, “glorifying and praising God for all [we have] heard and seen” (Luke 2:20).
Erin Davis is an author, blogger, and speaker who loves to see women of all ages run to the deep well of God’s Word. When she’s not writing, you can find Erin chasing chickens and children on her small farm in the Midwest.