Luke 2: 8-20
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favour rests.”
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.”
So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
Many will hear this snippet of the greatest story ever told in the coming days. Preachers around the world will relay the Good News of the angels; Good News to bring joy to all the people – news that a saviour was born!
In our own nation, the recipients of this heralding will be sitting in pews, gathering around the community Christmas tree and opening cards with these precious words enclosed.
But then what? Will they leave the pew, turn their backs on the tree and throw down the card to look for Jesus? That’s basically what the shepherds did when they heard the Good News; they immediately went on a journey to go and look for Jesus.
Their looking was rewarded with seeing and finding, and as they saw and found, God spread the message of the angels to the people of Bethlehem via the shepherds – the message that the one whom many had been waiting for had arrived; the message that this dear baby in the manger was the messiah.
However glorious the moment on the hillside would have been, it wasn’t the hearing of the angel’s message that transformed the shepherds and put them on the quickest discipleship programme in history. No, it was what they did next; they set off on a journey to go and look for Jesus, and in looking they found Him.
So what about you? What happened when you heard the good news about Jesus? Were you in a hurry to look for him, like the shepherds were so long ago? Did you find him, like they did?
If you did; how wonderful – praise God!
But if you didn’t, you wouldn’t be the first person to have heard the preaching, to have sung the songs, and perhaps even, to have written holy verses in cards, without ever having really looked for Jesus. You wouldn’t be the first person, to become immersed in church life (even sign up for Christian reflections!) without ever actually encountering Jesus for yourself.
Perhaps this Christmas it’s time to change all that!
‘You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you’ (Jeremiah 29:13)
Don’t let another Christmas go by, without truly encountering the one who means to bring you great joy.
My hope for you is that you will, like the shepherds, receive the jaw dropping news of the angels once more, and that this good news will propel you to go on a journey of the heart and of the scriptures, on which you really look for Jesus, and discover him to be your good news; your saviour.