Have you ever had that one friend who is constantly telling you stories that you just have a hard time believing? The truth seems to be stretched just a little too much? I know I can be so skeptical without seeing something with my own eyes.
In the Christmas story, there are some friends like this. In Luke 2, we read:
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)
The shepherds are out in the fields, as they always are, day after day. I’m sure there were one or two that just seemed crazy after spending so many hours with just their sheep. The angel appears to them, and I can just see them after the angel is gone going, “umm did you all see that too?”. They were certainly all surprised and shocked by the chorus of angels that I wonder if every shepherd went, or if any stayed behind because it just seemed “too crazy” to be real. Can you imagine when his friends returned, and told him that they had seen the baby, and that the prophecy that he had heard about his entire life was coming true? I’m not sure I would have believed them! I would have left to go see the baby with my own eyes!
These shepherds are also the ones that started the talk about Jesus. They were the first ones not to hold back in what they saw. They didn’t care what others thought – they had met Jesus and wanted to share with the world.
Today, first ask God to be present in your time. Then, I would encourage you to:
- Think about how excited the shepherds were, and what they would have said they saw. How is that different or the same from what you might say if you were there?
- How does what others think affect how you share the Gospel? How might you change that?
Have more time? Want to go deeper?
- Think about the excitement of these shepherds. What can they teach you about how to share your faith?
- These shepherds literally dropped everything to go see baby Jesus. The sheep were left unattended probably, and were at risk for all sorts of dangers. What can this teach us about how we handle struggles? How can we trust Jesus in a situation going on right now?