Bible Society of South Africa
Xanthe Hancox

People of the Nativity – Day 6

The shepherds

Bible text(s)

The Shepherds and the Angels

8There were some shepherds in that part of the country who were spending the night in the fields, taking care of their flocks. 9An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone over them. They were terribly afraid, 10but the angel said to them, “Don't be afraid! I am here with good news for you, which will bring great joy to all the people.

Luke 2:8-10GNBOpen in Bible reader

15When the angels went away from them back into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us.”

I’ve often wondered how I would’ve reacted if I had been one of those shepherds. I like to think I would have responded as they did, but I’m not so sure. Chances are that as soon as the angels left, I would have looked around to see if anyone else saw what I did. Maybe all of us would have had a lengthy debate about our options. Could we really afford to leave the sheep? What if the owner of the sheep found out? What if something happened to them while we were gone? What if we were mistaken about what we thought we heard?

I think we might have talked ourselves out of acting in faith.

God still speaks to us today through his Word and he does it to get us moving. Often, we know God is speaking but we’re afraid of what others will say, or we get side tracked or, most often, we don’t like what God is telling us. We don’t like it because it means change. Or it means doing something that is new or awkward. Or it means not doing something we like doing.

The shepherds didn’t hold back when they returned (Luke 2:20). They were exuberant, overflowing with joy and reflecting the glory of Jesus. And we know what happened when those uneducated, simple shepherds spread the word that a Saviour had been born; people were amazed!

When God speaks, it is important that we take appropriate action. The message of Christmas calls us to action. For some, God calls you to the most basic and essential action – to commit your life to him. For others, God may be calling you to turn away from something you know is wrong. We make excuses and rationalise sin, but we know.

Listen to the Christmas story. Hear the message. Do something bold this Christmas. Follow the example of the shepherds and act on God’s Word in faith.

Bible Society of South Africav.4.20.15
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