“When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child.” – Luke 2:15-17
Each Christmas there are people who miss out on the real meaning of Christmas; the first Christmas was no different. The Innkeeper was too busy with too many customers’ needs to have any time or place for Jesus at Christmas. King Herod tried to eliminate Christmas before it got off the ground by eliminating Jesus from Christmas. But there were people who understood the message of Christmas; the shepherds for example.
In the Luke 2 passage, the angels appeared praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
The shepherds could have sat back and thought, “Wow, we just saw angels…we will have a story to tell our grandchildren in our old age.” They could have debated over the meaning of what happened or felt pride in being the ones who got to see the heavens open up. They could have been practical and stayed with the sheep. But for them, the news was a call to action. “Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
When the shepherds witnessed the Lamb of God, who came to save people from sin, they were dramatically changed. As they left, they no longer acted like outcast shepherds. They were changed, excited, and bold. They wanted everybody to know about the Lamb of God. It was not just the people they knew but everybody who would listen. So powerful was their testimony that people were amazed. Even after the shepherds left Bethlehem, they were praising God and glorifying His name.
We can understand the real meaning of Christmas in this one story. Christmas is about the birth of the Lamb of God. He came by the will of God, with the backing and joy of heaven. He came to be the once and for all sacrifice. He was approved by the keepers of the sacrificial lambs as being worthy of a perfect sacrifice. You see, Christmas is the beginning of the story, which is completed at the cross. The angels proclaimed it, and the shepherds understood the message.
So, what about you? With Christmas just around the corner, will you miss Christmas, as well? Take some time amidst the busyness and festivities of the holiday season to slow down and really reflect on the true meaning of Christmas. The Christmas story is the most revolutionary story in the history of the world. It’s a story of God not just interacting with history or directing it, but entering into history. It’s a story of God made flesh, setting aside all His divine rights to become a helpless baby and ultimately the perfect sacrifice for our sins.
- We can know the story of Christmas, but completely miss the message behind it. Why does this happen? What puts us in the position of missing it?
- How does the Christmas story influence the way you see God?
- Christmas was never meant to be an event or a season, it was meant to be a gift. Agree or disagree and why?