When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. 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. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.Luke 2:15-21
And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.
Bells tolled across the churches of the nation. Students celebrated with songs and shouts. The Vietnam war was finally ended. Maybe you remember the event more than you do the date. January 27, 1973. President Nixon signed the Paris Peace Accord. They had navigated issues ranging from the shape of the table for the talks to the final disposition of Saigon.
Sometimes you just have to shout it from the rooftops. The news is just too good. The relief too strong. The implications to far-reaching.
You may realize that the implications of the Savior’s birth is far and away more significant than the end of a war. And while the shepherds didn’t have an end of a war to compare the Savior’s birth to, they knew this was a momentous event. They had to share the news.
The angel said it was ”Good News of great joy to all the people.” Far reaching. It was such a dramatic event: the angel of the Lord, a host of angels join their voices in praise to God. And when the shepherds check it out they discover things are just as the angel had told them. All is there according to their announcement.
Yet there is still more here. There is something about all this that ignites the shepherds’ hearts to let others know about all this. Shepherds are not notable or noble. They do a job. It’s not glamorous. But two things set them apart this night. They believe the message of the angel. This is more than intellectual assent. They see beyond the facts of this event. They see themselves as part of this story.
You might say, ”Of course they see themselves as part of this story. They’re major players in the divine drama!” And I would say that they see themselves as part of this story in the same way that you and I can .We who are of faith are part of the story of the shepherds. We’ve been visited by God. A Savior has been born to us.
You may not be all that jazzed about identifying with the shepherds. Your station in life may be much higher than theirs. But we all need a Savior. And we have one. This is good news for us. He is Christ the Lord. Sing with the shepherds, ”Angels we have heard on high! Gloria in excelsis deo!”