December 26, 2017

Terrified Shepherds

Luke 2:8-15

The angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.”

—  Luke 2:10

For the shepherds watching over their sheep, it started off as a quiet night. Then suddenly an angel was standing in front of them! Of course they were terrified, but the angel said, “Do not be afraid.” Then the angel announced that he was bringing good news that would give all the people great joy.

This was not just good news; it was life-changing good news. The Savior had been born, and he was going to deliver us out of all the trouble we were in. And how could the shepherds know who he was? The angel said, “You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Next, without any notice, an entire army of angels appeared, not coming to terrify the world but to surround them with praise about God’s plan for a peace-filled world.

That’s the promise of Christmas: God’s peace, God’s invitation to the world to start over again.

The invitation still stands: Come to Bethlehem. Come and be a part of something new: a new king, a new kingdom, a new way of life.

And how do we become part of this new kingdom? By faith. By believing this story about this good news. For when we believe this story, we start over. In the words of Jesus, “You must be born again” (John 3:7). Come, Jesus says; you can have new life and become the children of God (John 1:12)!

Lord Jesus, show us the way to your manger so that in seeing you, we may believe—and in believing have eternal life. Amen.

About the author — Thea Leunk

Thea Nyhoff Leunk has been a high school English teacher, a director of Christian education, a pastor of discipleship, and a regional coach for the Christian Reformed Church in North America. She is currently the senior pastor at Eastern Avenue Christian Reformed Church, Grand Rapids, Michigan. Thea has also written courses for teens and young adults on world religions, Christian faith traditions, and science and the Bible. She and her husband have three adult children.

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