Our scripture reading for this week comes from Luke’s Gospel: Luke 2:8-12, 17-18:
‘And in that same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shone around them and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby…”. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them’.
An unlikely evangelistic target group these shepherds were. Absent from the temple and unclean by their association with the body waste of the sheep, these men were the first to hear Heaven’s announcement of Jesus’ birth. And their reaction to it provides us with a good example to follow in our experience with God’s Word.
First, they RECEIVED the message. Though fearful of the encounter, there is no sign that the shepherds doubted the angels’ proclamation.
Then they RESPONDED to the message. Though the Magi had a star to guide them, the shepherds had only scant details of what they were looking for: a baby, in swaddling cloths, in a trough. But they went to search for the baby until they found Him.
And then they REPEATED the message, when they went away glorifying God and praising Him as the angels had done before them.
During this Advent season, may we be as willing to receive, respond to and repeat God’s message of love, offered to us through the birth of His Son, Jesus.