The shepherds must have been shocked and amazed by their angelic visitors and the really exciting news that they were hearing. It’s really no wonder that they left their sheep in the middle of the night to go to see if it was all true. (I wonder if the sheep were there when they got back and whether they had work the next day as a result?)
The angel had told them that the saviour had been born in Bethlehem and the shepherds must have been surprised that they were being notified of this major event!
Previously there had been no expectation that God knew or cared about people like them but if God was communicating with them, then they were in!
The shepherds were shocked by the angels appearing and they were shocked that God would speak to them but to top it all they were now hearing that the saviour was going to be found sleeping in an animal feeding trough.
They were also told that they would find the baby, snugly wrapped in a manger which was strange. They would have expected a Messiah to arrive majestically but instead, and in contrast to the angels they found him in a poverty-stricken state.
Rather than looking at this ordinary looking baby and being unimpressed, the shepherds rushed out to tell people.
You see, when you have an encounter with Jesus it should leave you with a burning desire to be honest about it.
The shepherds weren’t responding to an evangelism training course or some carefully thought through missional strategy, they had simply had an encounter with Jesus and they couldn’t help but talk about it.
Are we up for encountering Jesus?
I’m not talking about turning up to church and singing a few songs about Jesus. I mean, are we really expectant that we can meet with him, because if we do, we will be changed.
May God give us the desire to encounter him and may he also give us the courage to be honest about what he is doing in our lives.
This is a part of a series of short thoughts for advent to help us to consider the events surrounding the birth of Jesus as we prepare ourselves for Christmas. You can look at the other advent reflections by clicking here.
You can read more about the shepherds encounter with the angels in Luke 2 starting at v8.