My husband’s family had a tradition of reciting Luke 2 each year at Christmas. As our first year of marriage headed toward December, I got to work and put Luke 2 to memory. Many of us can rattle off at least portions of this, yet these are verses we need to stop and listen to. It is a message from God not only to the shepherds 2000 years ago, but also to you and me in 2014.
As the sun set, the evening sky began filling with stars. The shepherds sat contemplating their day as the sheep settled down for the night. In the midst of this quietness God poured forth His glory. Wild beasts could not compare to the terror these shepherds must have felt standing in the presence of God.
Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”
The good news brought to these shepherds revealed the birth of a Savior. Ten minutes earlier, these shepherds did not realize they were in need. They had cared for these sheep for many years, facing lions or bears or thieves. But now, they faced a fear unlike any they had encountered. They were surrounded by the glory of God, standing in the presence of One who is Holy, Holy, Holy.
We often desire to compare ourselves to those around us. When I do this I usually come out looking pretty good, because I’m smart enough to compare myself with someone who I think is inferior to me. But that evening these shepherds stood in the presence of God’s glory and holiness and understood that they were helpless without this Savior the angel proclaimed.
Once you were dead, doomed forever because of your many sins…But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so very much, that even while we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s special favor that you have been saved!)
Ephesians 2:1, 4-5 NLT.
Do you need Jesus? Without Him we are dead in our sin, and in need of a Savior. The shepherds did not see their need for Jesus, until they stood in the presence of God’s glory. This encounter did not leave them in fear, but they were comforted by God’s mercy to them and they responded with great joy. Glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen.
What is the state of your life? Are you still dead in your sins or have you been brought to life though the salvation that comes through Jesus Christ? If you have never seen your need for a Savior, begin to read the Bible, specifically the book of Mark. Get to know who Jesus is and what He did for you.
If you have know Jesus as your Savior, do as the shepherds did. Proclaim Him to those around you, giving Him glory and praise.