8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
15 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.”
16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
The Holy Bible, New International Version® NIV®
Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.®
Devotional – Rebecca Upputholla (Connect Groups Director)
Living in a house with a big family is always entertaining. My sisters found joy in sneaking up behind me when I was in my room, or in the bathroom and when I was least expecting it. Engrossed in my own thoughts and walking slowly out of the room, suddenly, they would shout, ‘boo!’ and scare the living daylights out of me. The fright would result in a reactionary, not-so-friendly pat on the back and a call for mum to discipline the kids. Although this is not the case for the first century shepherds when the angels appeared, we can imagine the terrifying and glorious occasion.
It was the moment of suddenly, that shifted the atmosphere, the suddenly that resulted in the terror, the moment of suddenly, that meant the next moments would not be the same again. Can you imagine? The shepherds were just going through the ordinary, the mundane. Feeding sheep, guarding the flocks in the night, every night for years and years. Every day they lived the same monotonous type of life, but suddenly, something changed.
Suddenly, a messenger of the Lord stood in front of them, and the darkness was replaced by a glorious light (Luke 2:9). They were terrified, but nevertheless we notice in verse 16 their excitement as they rush in haste, with eagerness, to see what they have heard. I wonder if they left all the sheep behind too.
In our day to day life, it’s a suddenly moment from God, that can alter the mundane and everyday! The haste of the shepherds testifies to their spiritual preparedness and eagerness for the coming Messiah.
God want’s to reveal himself to you today, are we expectant for a suddenly moment to occur?
The angel promised a sign to the shepherds – that they would find the child wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in the feeding trough of animals ( 2:12). It’s incredible that the birth and presentation of the Saviour is not only to identify Jesus but also for Jesus to identify with the shepherds. The Lord seemingly has no roof over His head, no house to dwell in. Neither do the shepherds. Jesus was poor and had no reputation, just like them.
Come as you are to God today, he will reveal to you his greatness and splendour in ways that are special to you. He is God, yet he identifies with you here today. In your tiredness and weakness, he will show you strength and the Holy Spirit will work in you. In your physical pain, there is healing. In your sorrow, He will give you joy!
In a brief matter of moments, the shepherds lives changed dynamically, when they experienced what they saw, the Saviour of the world. Just like the darkness of the field was lit up by the glorious light from the angels, pronouncing the birth of the Saviour, the fulfilment of the promise of good news, of great joy!
I pray and believe that the light of God’s word illuminates your path and suddenly a shift in your life causes you to live the way God has for you!