Day 4: Luke 2:8-20
In the same region, shepherds were staying out in the fields and
keeping watch at night over their flock. Then an angel of the
Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around
them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Don’t be
afraid, for look, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be
for all the people: Today in the city of David a Savior was born for
you, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be the sign for
you: You will find a baby wrapped tightly in cloth and lying in a manger.”
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!
When the angels had left them and returned to heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go straight to Bethlehem and see what has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.”
They hurried off and found both Mary and Joseph, and the baby who was lying in the manger. After seeing them, they reported the message they were told about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary was treasuring up all these things in her heart and meditating on them. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had seen and heard, which were just as they had been told.
1. Luke recounts an event that, at it’s beginning, mirrors the calling of many Hebrew prophets (Ezekiel 1, Isaiah 6). But unlike those prophets, who received visions of a savior who would appear, these shepherds receive a message that the savior has appeared. They a sent, not to tell of what will be, but to see what already is. Notably, they look to one another to confirm what they have heard, then go and see what they have been told about. They hear, discuss, go, see, tell, and tell again.
2. Jesus is the savior who is born to you, the Messiah and Lord. Paradoxically, he is also the baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.
3. Our God has appeared, delivered our salvation, and it is in a helpless child. The life of the believer is commonly marked by feelings of helpless powerlessness. God has shown us that even in the helplessness of a newborn child he is accomplishing the salvation of humankind. This is hope beyond the wildest hopes of any and all religions, worldviews, spiritualities, or philosophies. Salvation has come, and it is not found in greatness and accomplishment. It is found in an obedient helplessness. This is worth pondering and treasuring, as we learn from the mother of Jesus. We have but to listen, discuss, go, see, and tell and tell again.
4. Just as the Hebrew prophets received a message about what would one day be, the message given to the shepherds remains a message of the future. It is for now, and for then. It is already, but it is not yet. The salvation that will be for those with whom God is pleased has come through a child, but that child did not stay a child, and will return as an already reigning king.