8 And in the same area there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And then an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were very afraid. 10 But the angel said to them, “Listen! Do not fear. For I bring you good news of great joy, which will be to all people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign to you: You will find the Baby wrapped in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.” 13 Suddenly there was with the angel a company of the heavenly host praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, and good will toward men.” 15 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see what has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 So they came hurrying and found Mary and Joseph, and the Baby lying in a manger. 17 When they had seen Him, they made widely known the word which was told them concerning this Child. 18 And all those who heard it marveled at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary kept 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, as it had been told them. Luke 2:8-20
When Messiah Jesus was born and laid in a manger, an angel announced His birth to shepherds living in a field nearby and keeping watch over their flock by night. The heavenly messenger brought them good tidings of great joy for all people; for that very day in Bethlehem, the city of David, a Savior was born, the Messiah, the LORD (Jehovah) Himself in human flesh.
And, as the angel choir said in its hymn of praise, this child brought about peace between God and man and God’s goodwill toward sinful man. How could this be? Christ Jesus satisfied the righteous demands of God’s holy law for us, and He suffered and died on the cross and paid in full the just punishment for the sins of the world that God might have mercy upon us and graciously forgive our sins when we look to His Son in faith for pardon and peace!
Having heard these things, the shepherds were not content to go back to their work of guarding the flock; they went to see the things of which the angel had told them. And, they found it just as the angel had said. They found Mary and Joseph and, with them, the Christ Child lying in a manger.
Nor did the shepherds keep the good news to themselves; they told everyone — they made known abroad — what the angel had told them concerning this Child born in Bethlehem. Mary herself treasured up the words of the shepherds concerning her Son and pondered them in her heart.
When the shepherds returned to their flock, they were glorifying and praising God for all they had seen and heard, which was just as the angel had told them. They were rejoicing in God’s gift of a Savior who would redeem them and give them a place in God’s eternal kingdom.
Of course, these events in history have great significance for each and every one of us today. God’s own Son was born in Bethlehem on that historic day. His birth is good tidings of great joy to us as well, for He is the long-promised Messiah, the LORD God Himself, and He went to the cross for the sins of the world — for the sins of each of us — and He rose again in victory that each and every one of us might have forgiveness for all our sins and life eternal through faith in Him!
God would have us heed the message of the Christmas Gospel and turn from our sinful ways to Christ Jesus in faith that we might receive the pardon and forgiveness He won for us by coming into this world as a babe in Bethlehem and then fulfilling all the demands of God’s commandments and making full atonement on the cross for the sins of all!
Dearest Jesus, we thank you for coming into this world a true man — that babe born in Bethlehem — and going to the cross to redeem us and make us Your own. Move us to take the time to see, to believe, to worship and to spread abroad the good news of salvation through faith in Your name. Amen.
[Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, Modern English Version. Copyright © 2014 by Military Bible Association. Published and distributed by Charisma House.]