He sleepily watched the sheep stumble around. Their blundering leader kept walking into a ditch.
Stephen's head started to droop, and his eyelids slid closed. He jerked awake. The sheep were running around like they were about to be slaughtered, and...wait...it was bright as day! He could see his fellow shepherds standing around, waving, pointing, and shouting. Some where even running away from the light.
He looked up to the sky, and fell onto his rear. There in plain sight was an angel! How did he know it was an angel? The fact that it was hovering in the sky high above them was all the proof Stephen needed. He was certain that they were all going to die.
"Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you; you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger." The angel's voice boomed around them, but his words soothed his soul.
Suddenly, the angel wasn't alone though.
Stephen's jaw dropped, and his heart pounded. What in all the heavens? It was like the Lord God had opened up heaven to them! Angels filled the sky, and he listened to their words. "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!"
He didn't know how long they proclaimed their message. It felt so long, but so short. In a split second the sky was dark. Empty. Quiet. Like it never happened to the world around him, but he would forever be changed.
Stephen got up and started running. "We need to go find him. We need to find him!" He yelled to the other shepherds. He waved his arms and jumped over the ditch the stupid sheep had kept falling into earlier. Nothing was going to stop him. He had to see this Savior.
Based on Luke 2:8-15
I love this little part of the Christmas story. I love their initial panic, and then their determination to find Jesus. I love the Heavenly Host. Most of all, I love that God chose some lowly shepherds to announce the birth of His Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior to.
Have you ever wondered why God chose the shepherds? I have.
God didn't pick the shepherds because they were popular and well liked. They didn't make some kind of deal with God. They didn't have riches and treasures of the world.
The shepherds were there, ready and waiting. So many of the royal, luxurious, and religious people of the day completely missed Jesus' birth. Not only were the shepherds among the first to know, but they didn't even hesitate to try and find Jesus.
Guys, this Christmas we need to try to be more like the shepherds. Ready. Waiting. Willing to hunt Jesus down. Can you imagine? All those people who didn't have any clue that there was a Heavenly chorus singing? It's completely astounding to me. They all missed it! Guys, I don't want you to miss all the awesome things God has in store for you.
"And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, 'Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?' Then I said, 'Here I am! Send me.'" Isaiah 6:8
It's like this verse in Isaiah. God is saying, "Who will go for me? Who is waiting to be used? Who is ready for me to reveal more in their life?" Is your answer "Me God! I will," or is it the sound of crickets chirping as you avoid the answer.
A group of lowly shepherds found out about the Savior first because no one else cared. This Christmas, we call either be like the humble shepherds, who when they did hear about Jesus, rushed to find Him, or we can be like everyone else, who didn't care.
This Christmas, be a shepherd. Be ready and looking for Jesus.
My friends, I hope you have a wonderful day, and a Merry Christmas! God bless you!
V. Joy Palmer