Day 25

The Shepherds and the Angels

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.

But then…

“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).

And yet…

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.


Post Comments (49)

49 thoughts on "The Shepherds and the Angels"

  1. Sylvia Brown says:

    I am always amazed that the folks who interact with Jesus find things just as they have been told. So too with these shepherds as they returned to the fields marveling over the events they found just as they had been told by the Lord. So too for us, as we await his coming, will be exactly as he has told us he will return. I need to keep on believing, never give up faith no matter how crazy this world becomes.

  2. Jennifer McElhannon says:

    The author of this devotional couldn’t be more on the money. Once this Christmas season passes—and I’ll even let it extend into January—we all seem to just fall back into our old ways. January first comes around and we all have resolutions, but how many people stick to their resolutions throughout the entire year? More importantly, how many people keep God as the focal point in their lives all year around?

    I’m taking this year as a challenge for myself. My husband and I have dedicated ourselves to reading the Bible from beginning to end. We started this well over a month ago. We’ve fallen behind a couple of times, but have always caught back up. It’s been a challenge and I feel like Satan is trying his hardest to keep us from our daily bible readings. We both really prefer doing it in the morning, but the holidays has both of us all out of sorts.

    We can’t just remember Christ during this time of year. We need to remember Him year round. He is to be celebrated daily! I am making an effort to make God the number one priority in my life.

  3. Danya says:

    Isaiah 9:2–7
    2 The people walking in darkness

    have seen a great light;ac

    a light has dawned

    on those living in the land of

    3 You have enlarged the nation

    and increased its joy.K,ae

    The people have rejoiced before you

    as they rejoice at harvest time

    and as they rejoice when dividing spoils.a

    4 For you have shattered their oppressive yokeb

    and the rod on their shoulders,

    the staff of their oppressor,

    just as you did on the day of Midian.c

    5 For every trampling boot of battle

    and the bloodied garments of war

    will be burned as fuel for the fire.

    6 For a child will be born for us,

    a son will be given to us,d

    and the government will be on his shoulders.e

    He will be named

    Wonderful Counselor,f Mighty God,g

    Eternal Father,h Prince of Peace.i

    7 The dominion will be vast,

    and its prosperity will never end.j

    He will reign on the throne of David

    and over his kingdom,

    to establish and sustain it

    with justice and righteousness from now on and forever.

    The zeal of the Lord of Armies will accomplish this.k

  4. Steph B says:

    I was thinking the same thing – the anticipation leading up to Christmas and the fellowship and celebration that happens on the day fades into cold, dark winter just like that. It’s up to us to keep that light shining right on into the New Year and beyond! Make goals, keep your light bright and most of all spread that good news!

  5. Steph C says:

    “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone” (Isaiah 9:2). When light enters a dark heart it can never be the same again. Sometimes the light may seem to dim. Or to flare. But it can’t disappear. The Light has shone in our hearts. We live in and by His light. Oh God, thank you for shining your light into my darkness!

  6. Susan Crosby says:

    Without Jesus’ birth there would be no second coming. He is the Light of the Whole World… our Blessed Hope. Blessings for a wonderful 2019 to you and yours!❤️

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