Our scripture reading for this last Advent comes from Luke’s Gospel: Luke 2:8f
The shepherds were approximately 2 miles away from Bethlehem when the angels appeared to them. Though surprised by the unexpected visitation, the shepherds responded to the angel’s message by taking three steps of faith:
First, they HEARD the ANNOUNCEMENT: they really heard it not just listened to it.
Second, they HASTENED on the ASSIGNMENT: they went to diligently search. It is a misconception that Jesus was born in some out building belonging to an inn similar to our hotels. This was not the case. They were hastening to enter a ‘search’ for ‘a baby’ in ‘swaddling cloths’ in a ‘manger’. Most everyone in town would have owned animals that were fed in a trough. No easy task to find the baby. And if our Christmas carol is true (doubtful) which contains the lyrics ‘…no crying he makes…’ then there wouldn’t have been a sound to help give direction to their search.
Third, they HERALDED their ASSESSMENT: convinced that what they had seen, heard and found was absolute truth, they shared it with others who would listen. The result was that ‘all who heard them WONDERED at what the shepherds told them. In other words, they were amazed—a sort of astonished, gasp of wonder.
The Christmas season has ended for this year, however, left us not cease in following the shepherds example. May we be a people who heralds the absolute truth of Jesus all year long.