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  • Writer's pictureMathew D. George

December 22

Scripture Reading

Luke 2:8-20

The angel's announcement to the shepherds and their visit to the baby Jesus. And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

Reflection

Public Announcement: Your Help Has Arrived!

Life is full of adventure; surprising events force us to change our plans due to unexpected events. Maybe your travel plans changed due to someone calling out at work or you were forced to extend your trip due to a canceled flight. We have all been there. How did you respond? In those desperate moments, if you’re like me, you are hoping for someone to intervene and offer a solution. A coworker steps in to help or the airline agent pulls some strings to get you and your family on another aircraft. In our moments of desperation, a little help goes a long way!


Our text for today recounts the angelic announcement of an event that offers help for all of humanity - the arrival of Jesus Christ, the redeemer of the human race. This public announcement was rendered to, of all people, a group of shepherds in the fields near Bethlehem, at night. In ancient Judean society, shepherds were often considered lowly and were sometimes marginalized due to their occupation (Wiersbe, 2007). To them the message offered is: "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people" (Luke 2:10, NIV). The encounter between the shepherds and the heavenly messenger carries profound theological and cultural significance, emphasizing the inclusivity of the Gospel message for all people and the transformative power of the Good News for those who are marginalized by the dominant society. The angel's message is centered on the birth of a Savior, the long-awaited Messiah, and the significance of this event for all humanity. The use of the term "good news" or "gospel" (evangelion in Greek) harks back to prophetic promises in the Old Testament, emphasizing the fulfillment of God's redemptive plan through the birth of Jesus. The message of joy is not limited to a select few but is declared for "all the people," highlighting the door of salvation being open to everyone - Jews and Gentiles alike, as exclaimed by the host of angels,

“Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men” (Luke 2:14).

The response of the shepherds upon hearing the divine announcement is noteworthy; they wasted no time in making plans. Their immediate response highlights their curiosity as well as their urgency as they were utterly convinced that what was spoken to them was divine. Upon finding the child, they share the news with others, glorifying and praising God for what they have witnessed. Surely their plans were interrupted, but this public announcement is unlike any other. Of all the possible recipients of the good news of the birth of the Savior, God has chosen them - their help is here!


What about you? How will you respond to the announcement of the arrival of the Savior? What if it causes disruption to your preplanned agendas? The angels’ voices resounded with an urgency that required immediate response. In the stillness of the night, the ordinary became extraordinary as the angels proclaimed the birth of the Savior. Let us embark on our own journey to explore the transformative impact of the coming of the Messiah. We don’t have time to waste; let us make haste and experience him for ourselves and share the news with others, just as the shepherds did.





Notes

Song: Away in a Manger, Carrie Underwood

Scripture quotations are from the ESV®Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright© 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Wiersbe, W. W (2007). The Wiersbe Bible commentary. David C Cook.

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