“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
Luke 2:14 ESV
For the simple shepherds, it must have started as an ordinary day. They led their sheep down to the water then into fresh pastures. As evening arrived, they gathered in their fold and began their watch against predators. Then suddenly, their everyday lives became forever changed. An angel appears surrounded by the brilliant light of God, with the announcement that an extraordinary child had been born. Born into a meager environment that they could well appreciate. With the angel appear a multitude of heaven singing, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” How blessed these meek, hardworking men must have felt with this announcement that came from none other than God’s messengers. God, the Good Shepherd, spoken of by their hero King David, chose to first deliver the glorious announcement of his son's birth to those who understood what it meant to be shepherds.
While we do not have angels of the Lord appearing to us today with the same fanfare, the awe and promise of the message remains the same. God became genuinely human -- the months spent in his mother's womb, the natural delivery process, and the first breath drawn. Jesus’ birth was like any other human birth; painful, messy, and joyful. The difference, this child entered into the world with a predetermined purpose, sent to fulfill his Father's plan for humanity and peace to all who would believe. The same beautiful invitation the shepherds received that night in the fields long ago to come and find Jesus is still available. We only need to accept it.
Our gracious and loving Father, we give thanks for your Son sent to us. We are thankful for the pronouncement of Jesus' arrival to shepherds. In it, we hear the message of peace that comes from acceptance. We humbly ask that everything we do be pleasing to you. When we are weak and falter, please make us strong. Please help us as we proclaim to others the joy in serving you. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
An appropriate carol for this scripture reading is Angel’s We Have Heard on High (UMH 238). If you would like to listen to a newer version, I like this from Christian recording artist Danny Gokey.