December 10: The Shepherds’ Joy, Advent Day 15

Read Luke 2:8-19

They were the first ones on the scene. At least the first ones we know about. The stinky, dirty, third-shift shepherds couldn’t wait to check out what the angel told them.

“(G)reat joy . . . 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 wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger” (Lk 2:10-12).

I have to wonder what they were most excited about. Was it the fact that they’d just witnessed an angels’ hymn-sing or that a Savior, a King, was just born in their teeny little town? Or maybe it was the sign that had them most curious. A baby King who sleeps in a food trough.

Whatever it was that had them most excited, the shepherds responded post haste to the message that God had sent a Savior. A Messiah King for even them.

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased” (Lk 2:14).

Then Jesus stepped in to the shepherds’ lives even as they stepped in to that smelly stable on Bethlehem Road. They found the Savior of the world, red-faced newborn, Almighty King who offers peace and delights even in shepherds who work all night.

And when Jesus stepped in, they couldn’t not share the news. Because that’s how it works. When people hear the truth that Almighty God cares for even them, He changes things. When people like those shepherds experience the living God, they have to make Him known.

“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” (Lk 2:17-18).

I wonder if you’ve experienced Jesus like that. Have you let His presence step in to your life? Have you let Him change you in such a way that you can’t keep it in — this amazing Savior’s peace, His pleasure with even you?

That is why He came, you know. Joy to the world is more than just a title for a song. It’s the message of God for all people. Shepherds. Kings. Teenage girls. Engaged men. You. And me.

And third week of Advent, we celebrate the true joy of Jesus Christ.


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