Nate’s Notes: Shepherds and Significance

Photo from Pixabay contributor ArmyAmber.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were teUpdates 3rrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

15 When the angels had left them and gone 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 about.”

16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 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 2:8-20  (NIV)

I participated in Christmas pageants as a teenager. I usually played the role of a shepherd. It is boring playing a shepherd. Joseph and Mary took center stage, the angels sang before the newborn king, and the wise men presented gifts to Jesus. What did I do? I held a staff and pretended to watch sheep. That was all. I didn’t speak, give gifts, or sing. What about you? Do you sometimes feel insignificant and on the margins? Have you lost the love of your life, retired from a meaningful job, dealt with divisions in your family, or struggled silently with serious health problems?

The good news is that the Heavenly Father loves everyone who calls upon him in the name of Jesus. There are no bench warmers in God’s kingdom. How does Jesus’ birth demonstrate that we are all significant to God?

We are adopted into the family of God. One of my favorite promises in Scripture is that the Lord willingly accepts us into His family. We aren’t just servants or followers. The Triune God loves us so much that we are family. Yahweh is the father who rushes to greet the prodigal son. No matter how far we have strayed, we can journey back home. It is also incredible to think of Jesus as our brother!

4 But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. Galatians 4:4-5

Jesus’ birth is good news to all who believe. The announcement of Jesus’ birth is so important that the Father announced it with angels. Furthermore, the good news brings “great joy.” Jesus’ birth is just as important for us as it was to the shepherds. It is a reason to celebrate. There is nothing wrong with giving and receiving gifts for Christmas. However, our primary focus should be in celebrating the Savior’s birth. We may be happy for a while if we like our gifts, but we will have joy for eternity because of the greatest gift of all: Jesus.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Luke 2:8-10

Jesus’ birth is also a source of peace for all who acknowledge Him as Savior and Lord. We can have peace with the Father and peace with other believers because of Immanuel, God with us. God is not observing us from far away. The Holy Spirit is in us. We are all significant to the Lord. The Father gave His only Son as a sacrifice for us and provided us with His Spirit. We are greatly loved and showered with abundant grace. Whether we are on center stage with a spotlight or we are the silent shepherds off to the side, God loves us! Praise the Lord!

Prayer: Holy Father, we thank you for your great love and mercy. We praise You that in Christ we all have meaning and significance. You have invited us into your family. Give us the compassion and love to see others the way that You see them. May we recognize that we are significant in You and that You supply us with all that we need. In the glorious name of Jesus we pray, amen.

Pastor Nathan

 

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