Suddenly a messenger of the Lord stood in front of them, and the darkness was replaced by a glorious light—the shining light of God’s glory. They were terrified! Luke 2:9 (VOICE)
The tickets were paid for long in advance, but I had mentally ducked out of the plans I had spun into existence several times as the date crept up. What’s the point of standing in worship under bright lights, as opposed to at church on a Sunday or in my ears-buds walking down the pier?
When “God is in this place,” as He promises to be when we gather to worship Him together, He’s omnipotently arranged something. We can pretty much count on that. God calls us to “go,” and walking with Jesus will illuminate the purpose of every chance experience.
For the shepherds in the field that witnessed God’s angels, purpose was layered into the very thread of who God knew they were. Let’s look at the feelings the shepherds felt.
Suddenly –happening or coming unexpectedly; changing angle or character all at once. (Merriam-Webster)
The shepherds were instantly changed when the sky lit-up. They couldn’t unsee what they saw, un-feel what they felt, or un-hear what they heard. Jesus doesn’t need to prep our hearts for His arrival. In an instant admission of belief, we are changed forever. Suddenly, we see. In fact, we’re blinded. There’s no going back.
front- facing forward; directed forward. (dictionary.com)
The shepherds weren’t startled because the angels crept up behind them. They were right in front of them. Do we know that God faces us? That we can face Him? Christ Jesus, the child among His people. The ones He choose to die for …to look at, face to face.
light- something that makes things visible or affords illumination (dictionary.com)
Light allows us to see where we are going, but the light of the Lord Jesus allows us to see who we are. In a dark world, Christians can be joyful because He allows us to see His light. The light came to us on Christmas, when God’s glory came to earth.
terrified- to fill with terror or alarm; to make greatly afraid.
In order to understand the awe, coupled with the fight-or-flight shock that accompanied the shepherds reaction, here is terror defined:
terror- intense, sharp, overmastering fear
Sometimes our greatest terror is sprung from a fight within us and around us. Knowing and being able to feel and witness God’s glory in that moment in the field announcing Jesus’ birth, the shepherds felt the overwhelming awesomeness of God. Yet, something in them told them to be afraid. When we experience fear, we can determine where to steer it by remembering who God is. The shepherds choose to obey. They headed the angels and went to see Jesus, and told everyone about His birth.
How often do we let our fear fuel our self-doubt? But if we let our awe of God drive us to obedience, we get to experience Jesus.
The shepherds witnessed the Son of God. The very glory that turned the darkness of night into shocking brightness, come to earth.
The Child among His children.
Father, Praise You for the obedience of the shepherds. Thank You for choosing those of simple stature in society to witness the Savior of the world lying in a manger. Forgive us for overlooking the circle of light that took place on Christmas, as Jesus’ glory came to earth. Bless us to appreciate and obey the awe-striking moments of opportunity You illuminate in our lives. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Get the conversation started by commenting below, and let’s encourage one another as we face life in 2017 armed with grace!
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