December 17 - Shepherds
Imagine you are sitting out on a hillside looking after sheep right now. What might you be doing and how would you be feeling? Pretend to be settling down to sleep. What quiet noises can you hear as the hillside, and all those on it, settle down for the night?
Being a shepherd two thousand years ago was not a particularly glamorous job. Most of the time you were simply sitting around watching goats and sheep, and making sure there was enough for them to eat. Bears and lions trying to attack your flock was about as exciting as it got; being on night duty was the worst of all; boring, nothing happening at all.
Then, all of a sudden, an angel appears. Don’t ask me what this angel looked like, whether it sported wings or was all in white, but it certainly shook up those sheep minders. The neat thing was that the angel had brought them a message from God; a message about a baby; but not just any baby.
This was The Messiah – the one God had promised would come years ago: now was the time. The angel strongly recommended that they went to see for themselves, check out the truth of their message, especially about the baby sleeping in an animal’s feeding trough. Then just to round off the evening a whole choir of angels appeared, just as suddenly and began to praise God, “Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased” they chorused.
When the shepherds had been and seen Jesus lying in the manger, they were so excited that God had kept his promise, that they ran through the streets of Bethlehem telling everyone all the wonderful things they had seen and heard.
Who do you think God wants you to tell about the good news of Jesus? Write a list of three people and ask God to show you how to speak to them about your friendship with him and what things you might be able to invite them to.