By Rick Cowman
The Christmas season is upon us, and in Luke chapter 2, we find the account of the angel of the Lord announcing the birth of Jesus to some shepherds near Bethlehem. Please read through this chapter again for the first time, and then we’ll take a moment to look at the not so obvious and how GOD HAS SPOKEN!
My family and I were part of a Christmas pageant several years ago, and what was different about this pageant was that instead of the guests simply observing what was taking place, they were part of it. As the guests entered, they took a step back in time, going through to motions of registering for the census, checking into a mock hotel, and then witnessing the events of that night in Bethlehem. The idea was to have everyone experience what it might have been like to actually be there when Christ was born. One of the things that made an impression on me was the shepherds and their excitement and awe of what they had been told about this King who was to be born.
What strikes me about the account in Luke chapter 2, is that God spoke to INSIGNIFICANT PERSONS. Verse 8 says the angel appeared to some unnamed shepherds. He could have chosen someone of great stature, but He chose some common, ordinary shepherds to reveal the coming of the Savior! I would imagine these shepherds felt pretty insignificant before that night; but not anymore!
God spoke in an OBSCURE PLACE, an unidentified place “in the same region”. It was in a pasture, not in a palace that God disclosed the coming of His Son, the Savior of a lost world! He spoke in a place of solitude and quietness where He could easily be heard and where His message would not be confused. Sometimes we need to get away to a quiet place where the noise of the world cannot drown out what God is saying to us.
God spoke in an UNEXPECTED PLACE. The shepherds were minding their own business, watching over their sheep, when a flash of blinding light shone around them and the Angel of the Lord appeared before them. God speaks to us in the every day of our lives, not just at a church service or a special event. The shepherds were being faithful to keep watch. We must be in a position of willingness and awareness to hear God’s voice!
God also spoke in an UNEXPECTED WAY. In verse 9, we see God spoke through an angel who appeared “suddenly” before the shepherds, and the glory of God’s presence surrounded them! WOW! Can you imagine the surprise? We find their response in verses 9 through 20. First, there was awe: “They were terribly frightened”, taken back in fear and reverence of God’s presence, which resulted in humility! When was the last time you and I were taken back in awe of God’s hand in our lives? There was action: “They went immediately,” responding to the Word of God in obedience! There was also acclamation: “They told”, sharing their experience with others! And finally there was adoration: “They glorified and praised God”, responding to God’s presence with worship!
Why did God speak to the shepherds that night? The same reason He speaks to us today; that we might be humbled by His presence, become obedient to His word, be His witnesses the Good News of the Gospel of to others….and to simply worship Him!