Imagine, a cold and draughty stable with no real way to keep warm, other than some swaddling clothes to be wrapped in. No professionals around to oversee the birth of this child, only Mary and Joseph to look after the infant Jesus; and at all times surrounded by animals. These, by any matter of means, are not the circumstances you would think of when considering the birth of any child...let alone a King! These, perhaps, are the lowliest conditions one could think of at a time such as giving birth to a child. Humble conditions, simple conditions and quiet. This, however, was all part of God’s wonderful plan. Although God had planned that his Son, Jesus Christ, would be born into such lowly, modest circumstances, he did not plan to keep it a secret... not at all.
Luke Chapter 2: Verses 8-12 (KJV)
“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone around about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.”
Shepherds, simply working in their fields watching over their sheep, and suddenly before them is the angel of the Lord! One can only imagine how stunned, confused and terrified they must have been. Modest men who took care to look after sheep being approached by an angel, light shining brightly all around them in the middle of a dark night. We are told that they were ‘afraid’, yet they did not run, they listened to what the angel had to say to them. This angel brought ‘good tidings of great joy’ for all the people...and they were the first to hear the amazing news, that on that very day a Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, had been born!
Luke Chapter 2: Verses 13-15 (KJV)
“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, good will toward men. And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.”
They were surrounded by a ‘multitude’ of angels now and being given a wonderful message:
“Glory to God in the highest”
Once the angels had departed from their sight and into heaven the shepherds did not waste their time; they immediately said to each other that they would go to Bethlehem (the city of David) to find the Lord Jesus Christ, whom they had been told would be found wrapped in swaddling clothes. The last part of verse 15 says ‘which the Lord hath made known to us”. They knew that they had been entrusted with this glorious message and chose to go to Bethlehem.
Luke Chapter 2: verses 16-20 (KJV)
“And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.”
Just as it had been promised to them, they found the baby Jesus in a manger along with Mary and Joseph. Once they had seen the Lord Jesus Christ for themselves they praised him, glorifying his name and they told everyone about the great message that a saviour was born!
The shepherds did not ignore this message, they embraced it, they found that what they had been told was true and told everyone about the Lord (great joy’ for all the people). They had been entrusted with the greatest message that there had ever been, and so now are you!
“Glory to God in the highest”