Saturday, December 5, 2009

Of Angels and Shepherds

This unique ornament pictured was sold at a Christian book shop where I once worked. When they surplus stock went on sale, I bought several, which have been given to missionaries I have known. If you look closely, you’ll see that the “O” encapsulates a golden world.

As I looked at it today, I began to think of the song, “The First Noel”, which reminds us of the angel’s message on the night of Jesus’ birth:

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, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for 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 Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger” (Luke 2:8-12 NKJV).

What a message to these shepherds! The angel told of “great joy which will be to all people”.

Note the word, “all”. I love the word “all” in the Bible. And I think when it is translated from the original language, it means “all”…plain and simple. No one is excluded from God’s call. Just as “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”, (Romans 3:23), the Bible also teaches us that God “is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). There’s that word again.

The angels hurried to find the “Babe wrapped in swaddling clothes”. On discovering Him, they couldn’t keep the news to themselves:

Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds (Luke 2:17-18).

The shepherds became the first witnesses of the Lord Jesus. Others continue this task today. One special part of this season is the opportunity to focus on the work Southern Baptist International Mission Board servants (the shepherds of our day) carry out, bringing the message to “all people” in the far reaches of the earth. Will you pray for them today, learn about their task, and give generously to support them? And whether or not we might follow in their footsteps, God is still urging us, as He did the shepherds, to “widely make known” the message that a Savior has been born!

Best wishes from lefthandrightbrain.