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.
In our previous devotion on Luke 2:13-15, we focused on the first of three responses to the birth of Jesus. The angels responded by praising God, bursting forth in the first Christmas Carol, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
Today we see the second response, that of the shepherds. The shepherds responded to seeing the baby Jesus by spreading “the word concerning what had been told them about this child.” They didn’t keep it to themselves, but rather let it be known. Just as the angels responded with the first Christmas Carol, the shepherds responded by becoming the first Christian evangelists.
I pointed out a couple of days ago the interesting parallel between the shepherds and the women who were the first to hear of the resurrection. Like those women, the shepherds became the first human announcers of what God had done. The women’s announcement meant with doubt. But in the case of the shepherds, the response was amazement.
The good news of Christmas is a not just a blessing to be enjoyed and a gift for which God is to be praised. It is good news that is to be shared. We are called to be witnesses like those shepherds.
This year, our conversations with others about our Christmas will likely focus on how things were different this year. The parties that weren’t held. The trips not taken. The worship services not attended in person. The community events canceled.
But we have the chance to share the main thing that it unchanged: the celebration of the birth of the savior. The external features of our Christmas celebration will be changed this year, but the Savior whose birth we celebrate will be the same. This text encourages us to make use of opportunities to point this out, to be like the shepherds and to spread the good news.
Lord Jesus, grant me grace to respond to your birth as did the shepherds, by telling others of the good things that I have heard.
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