Have you ever been so excited about something that you just had to tell someone? You didn’t have to force yourself to share your joy; the words just tumbled out spontaneously. That’s what the shepherds experienced when they saw Jesus in the manger.
On Sunday we considered the Shepherds Candle, which emphasizes the joy of finding the Christ child and sharing this joy with others. Let’s reread Luke’s account of the shepherds’ encounter with the angels and their subsequent visit to see the baby Jesus. This time focus on what the shepherds did after they had seen Jesus.
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.
Luke 2:8-20 (NIV)
Can you sense the spontaneity of the shepherds’ response to what they had seen? They didn’t have to debate what they should do. They just started spreading the word! They didn’t have to muster up their courage. They couldn’t help but tell people what they had heard and seen! Their joy overflowed from their hearts to their mouths, and they glorified and praised God for what He had done.
As the shepherds realized what God had done for them, their joy grew and they began to spread the good news. Similarly, as we reflect on the gift God has given to us, our joy will increase and so will our desire to share that joy with others. By God’s grace may we find deep and lasting joy this Christmas, and may we eagerly share God’s wondrous love with those around us.
Reflection and Discussion
- Have you ever been so excited about something that you had to tell someone?
- Have you had any conversations about Advent or Christmas this year? If so, what did you most appreciate about one of those conversations?
We long for the kind of excitement and joy that the shepherds had after the angels appeared to them and they visited Jesus. Help us to make the time to reflect on Your gift to us; and as we do, please stir our hearts to a deeper appreciation of what You have done for us. May our joy increase, and may our hearts overflow so that we will eagerly share that joy with those around us.