It was nighttime; a group of shepherds were huddled around a bright and warm fire. Perhaps they had just hunkered down for the night to fall asleep as they’d done innumerable nights before, when “…an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened” (See Luke 2:9).
What could be so important as to interrupt such a timeless routine and existence of mere shepherds watching their sheep and hunkering down to sleep for the night? These were men whose tendency was not to have much social interaction. Theirs was a lonely profession, keeping company with sheep meandering the fields. Furthermore, they were smelly because they were continually around livestock and had limited access to hygiene assistance.
The angels popped into their night and gave them the shock of their lives! Heaven was abundantly excited to announce the birth of Jesus, with the angels busting out in praise, celebration and elation! With such an outpouring of exuberant joy, the shepherds went into Bethlehem and found just what the angel had described to them - a baby lying in a manger and wrapped in cloths. And having confirmed with their eyes what they heard from the angel, they went away telling everyone about their discovery, causing wonder and awe among those who heard the shepherds’ news.
I wonder if there are seasons in our lives where we can relate to these shepherds. Have you ever found yourself at a time in your life when things seem dark, cold, perhaps mundane and disconnected? Maybe you know someone who is going through a season like this. Maybe there are some people in your life that tend to be introverts but you can sense their immense capacity for spiritual sensitivity, regardless of their seemingly disconnected lifestyle. No matter if you feel highly connected or disconnected from people; no matter if you might be kind of smelly or socially awkward; no matter if you’re going through a night season where life seems dark, cold and unfriendly, Jesus is eager to join you! I say this because of God’s decision to send an exuberant heavenly host of angels to shepherds in the field at night—an unlikely time, to an unlikely group of men, to an unlikely location, mostly devoid of people, for a massive display of divine glory!
Reflection: If you’re in a dark season at this time, take a few moments now to ask Jesus, the Light of the world, to illuminate whatever seems dark or murky. Or maybe there is someone in your life who might need to hear that God wholly and deeply loves them. Pray and ask God to give you an opportunity to express this to that person.