“Do not be afraid, Shepherd.”
Thursday, December 16, 2021 by Barbara

Shepherds lived isolated lives. I wonder, were the men we read about in Luke 2 politically aware? Were their religious convictions fervent or feeble? Did they feel the pressures of an overcrowded Bethlehem? It is likely they were unlearned men, with an uncomplicated vocation who conversed around a campfire in the evenings, keeping an eye on their sheep.

On the night Luke describes, these simple men had finished their day’s work when a visitation from heaven shattered their peace, both astounding and terrifying them.

An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Shepherds—not scholars, rabbis, or royalty—received an astonishing message directly from the mouth an angel, whose first words were, “Do not be afraid.”

Indeed, the news was good—the longed for Messiah was born! Worshiping angels broke forth from heaven and filled the sky, praising God, 

“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

A stunning experience, an overwhelming sight, a staggering message. How would they react?

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

"Do not be afraid.” As incomprehensible their angelic encounter was, they did not cower behind reasons to fear or the obstacles before them. They acted, running through a congested Bethlehem, and somehow found the stable that housed their Savior.

When we resist fear and search for Him, we also will find Him, and the shepherd’s joy will be ours.

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