“Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy … a Savior has been born to you.”
The shepherds in the children’s Christmas program are often a cute sight, but does that portray the reality? We tend to roman-ticize those shepherds. Actually they were rough and tough, sleeping out in the fields to protect the flocks.
Most shepherds did not care for their own sheep; they were “hirelings.” Out in the open fields, who knew how many lambs were born, how many sheep died, or how much wool was col-lected? It was easy to steal, and that was so common that there were laws against buying wool, lambs, and milk directly from shepherds. The Pharisees, the religious leaders of the day, would not associate with shepherds, and most people didn’t trust them.
It’s no wonder the shepherds were terrified when an angel appeared. As sinners encountering a mighty warrior of the Holy God, they had every reason to be afraid. But the angel’s words were not judgment but good news: “Do not be afraid… A Savior has been born to you.” The angel declared God’s message of peace.
In our sin we rebel against God, and we deserve punishment. But God has provided a way of reconciliation, salvation, and peace through the babe born in the manger. The Pharisees would not associate with shepherds, but Jesus came to seek and save the lost.
That includes you and me. Through faith in Jesus we can have peace with God.
Lord, we confess that we are sinners. Thank you for your gift of reconciliation so that in Jesus we can have your peace. Amen.
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