December 23, Sunday

The Angel Appearing to the Shepherds
Govert Flinck, 1639

Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them.

Luke 2:8.9.

Many people will have heard or read something of the “Christmas message” recently, and many more will do so in the coming days. A small portion of it is printed above in all its simplicity, nevertheless causing wonderment. Totally unexpectedly in the quietness of the night an angel of God appeared before the shepherds outside Bethlehem in a glory exceeding their imagination. Those men were suddenly faced with a completely different reality, which was truly genuine, and which surpassed all their previous experiences.

This wondrous incident was a fitting framework for the news that heavenly messenger brought: “Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Saviour who is Christ the Lord” (vv. 10 &11). Nothing restrained the shepherds from hurrying to the Child in the crib. They found everything as the angel had announced it. And just as spontaneously they reported what they had seen that night throughout the whole district.

Let us take time to contemplate the profound content of this message! The Child Jesus born there and then is the Saviour and Lord of the world. Both things are true, but only sincere believers have a part in that salvation. Christ the Lord opens the way to heaven and seeks to bring us into a close relationship with God. All are invited to share in this “great joy”.

Image: By Govert Flinck – Not necessary, PD by age., Public Domain,