The theme for each of our devotions this week is based on a different Christmas carol. Today, I would like for us to examine, “While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks”.
While shepherds watched their flocks by night,
All seated on the ground,
The angel of the Lord came down,
And glory shone around,
And glory shone around.
“Fear not!” said he; for mighty dread
Had seized their troubled minds,
“Glad tidings of great joy I bring
To you and all mankind,
To you and all mankind.
“To you, in David’s town this day,
Is born of David’s line,
The Savior who is Christ the Lord,
And this shall be the sign:
And this shall be the sign:
“The heavenly Babe you there shall find
To human view displayed,
All meanly wrapped in swathing bands,
And in a manger laid;
And in a manger laid.
“All glory be to God on high,
And to the earth be peace:
Good will henceforth from heav’n to men,
Begin and never cease,
Begin and never cease.”
“While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks” tells the story of the shepherds found in Luke 2:8-20. At the time of Jesus’ birth shepherds were at the bottom of the social ladder. They often lived for long periods of time, right in the same fields where they took care of the sheep; so most people looked down on them. God could have announced the birth of his son to the most influential, rich and successful leaders of the time. However, instead God chose to first tell the lowly shepherds. “But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord’” (Luke 2:10-11). God sent his son for all people – for the rich and the poor, the leaders and the abandoned, the educated and the uneducated, the popular and the friendless. God had his good news first delivered to the shepherds to demonstrate that the gospel is for all people.
The angels told the shepherds that baby Jesus was “born to you” (Luke 2:11). Typically, we think that a baby is born to his parents. But Jesus was a gift given to the shepherds, and each of us. Jesus was born for us, to save us from our sins so that we may one day have eternal life. Jesus is the ultimate Christmas gift, given to each of us.
When the angels left, the shepherds said, “’Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.’ So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told” (Luke 2:15-17,20). The shepherds heard the good news, they believed it, they told others the good news and they worshiped God. What about you? Do you believe the gospel? If so, are you telling others the good news? And are you spending time worshiping and praising God for the wonderful gift that has been given to you?