Advent Thoughts

Thursday, December 23
Luke 2:17-18, 20

As we near the end of Advent, two responses to Jesus’ birth and events surrounding his birth capture my attention. First, let’s look again at the shepherds. Can you see them approaching the animal shed where they seek a manger? The hymn writer says, “Haste, haste to bring him laud…” but I see their steps slowing as they near their destination. What will they find? Who will they find? Luke’s concise words again demand us to fill in the blanks: When they had seen him… Did they look confused at this baby who looked just like any other Jewish baby but according to the angels was anything but ordinary. Did they possibly see with eyes enlightened by the Spirit?

Second, it’s interesting that when the shepherds left the manger they didn’t announce the infant’s blue(?) eyes, nor how perfectly formed he was, nor Mary’s peaceful gaze, nor Joseph’s stalwart protection. Instead…they spread the word concerning what had been told them about the child…

What was the essence of the message they’d heard?

Don’t be afraid
This is good, joyful news
This news is for everyone (even shepherds)
The long-awaited Savior has come

The response to the shepherds’ message? …all who heard it were amazed… When we share how the good news of Bethlehem has changed our lives, are people amazed? When you tell people about Jesus, are the shepherds’ “four spiritual laws” what you communicate? Do people hear that God’s love conquers fear; God’s news is good, without condemnation; God’s news contains no exclusion clause; God keeps his promise–the Savior has come.

The shepherds see, believe, and tell. Has that been my role this Advent? How can my message more align with the angels’ message?

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