Reading: Luke 2:8-12
Verse 10: “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.”
The shepherds are living out in the fields, keeping watch over the flocks of sheep. The shepherds fill a role in society that not too many want to fill. They live outdoors most of the time. Society looks down on them. Yet it is to these outsiders that the angel of the Lord appears. Suddenly the night sky is illuminated by the glory of the Lord. The shepherds were terrified.
The angel says to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.” The shepherds would be rejected by the religious leaders if they showed up at the temple fresh out of the fields. But God sends an angel to these shepherds. The angel doesn’t tell them to go home, to get all cleaned up, and then to meet up at the temple or synagogue so that they can hear the news. No, God comes to them where they’re at. The shepherds are chosen as they are. They are loved by God and are invited to be a part of God’s plan. Yes, indeed, this “good news of great joy” is truly for all people.
The angel gives two signs so that the shepherds know it is true. The place is Bethlehem and the child will be “wrapped in cloth and lying in a manger.” The shepherds will accept the invitation to be a part of God’s plan. They will go and find all as the angel had said it would be. Filled with this promised great joy, these simple folk will become the first witnesses, praising and glorifying God for all that had been done. This day may we too be filled with great joy, sharing the good news of what God has done!
Prayer: Lord God, in the words of the angel and in the choice of the shepherds, I am reminded that your love knows no bounds. It is a love that desires to share peace, hope, and joy with all people. This day use me to share this good news of great joy. Amen.