“But by faith we eagerly await through the Spirit the righteousness for which we hope.”
Galatians 5:5 (NIV UK)
I want to take you back to the night of Christ’s birth. At that time, Bethlehem was an agrarian town with a population of about 1,000 people—and a small percentage of those were shepherds. But shepherding today is a little different than it was back then. Not only did you have to contend with lions, wolves and bears—but you also had to sleep with the sheep! Shepherds were outcasts, people who didn’t fit into the social norms of their time. But all that changed on the first Christmas night…
We find the account in the Gospel of Luke: “And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 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 Saviour has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.’” (Luke 2:8-11).
But the story doesn’t end there. After hearing the “good news”, these Shepherds rushed down the hill, found Jesus in the manger and told Mary and Joseph what they had heard. And after that, “The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told” (Luke 2:20).
What I really like about this story is that even though Jesus hadn’t necessarily saved anyone yet, the Shepherds still glorified and praised God. They had faith that all the things the angel had told them would come to pass. It reminds me that when we put our trust in Christ, we can rest in the knowledge of his timing and his power to work his miracles. And that assurance is something that brings me great joy.
Mighty Father, it really is an incredible story—the story of God coming to us in the person of Jesus Christ. What other religion, what other god, has ever dared to even think of this? Truly, we may rejoice with great joy. In Jesus’ name.
Study by Joseph Tkach
About the Author:
Joseph Tkach is the President of Grace Communion International (the Denominational name of The Worldwide Church of God UK), and resides in California, USA. You are welcome to attend one of our local Church congregations located throughout the UK and Ireland. For details of your nearest local congregation, check on our website, www.wcg.org.uk under the ‘Churches’ tab, or ring +44 (0)1858 437099.