Shepherds Got It First: Immanuel is Frightening, or Is He?

Posted on Posted in Family, General

Merry Christmas Everyone!

My reflections on the Christmas story Luke 2:8-20  (read it OR listen to it here on

Shepherds!  Why is Luke – a careful, meticulous doctor – telling us about shepherds?  They don’t seem a very likely lot to be included in the story of the King of Kings.

Yet, boom!  They get THE NEWS!  They get an angel!

Amazing?  Joyful?  Picturesque?

Frightening. Dreadful. Overpowering light.  “This could mean our death!  We have seen an angel of the Lord!”

Stories told of angels visits in the past – stories transmitted generation to generation even amongst shepherds – would have provided further incentive for fear, angst and desire to hide.

Contrast this encounter with Joshua 5 and Exodus 3

* The angel attempted to calm their fears.  (This did not often happen with angelic appearances in the Old Testament.)
* Angels appeared to common folk – even mere shepherds, mere scoundrels.
* No urgent admonition to remove shoes
* No command to go and do something brave for the Lord
* No prompt to go DO anything at all –  just a hint of how to find Jesus

12 And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”Then, boom, an angel!

13 Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”

Whoa!  WHAT? What is this that we’re seeing and hearing?

This announcement signals a brand new way to encounter God:

* You can get close to God and live to tell about it!
* Yes, we’ve a deep need to revere Him but we, even we as scoundrel shepherds, are invited to come and touch Him!
* Walk right up to the King of Kings and talk to Him.

Through this announcement we are given great confidence to enter the most Holy place and actually live to tell about it. (Hebrews 10)

It’s even better.  Perplexing a bit, yet incredible, fascinating news:  We enter the most Holy place because of the gift He brings us – not because of the gift WE bring.

Big news.  Good news.  Not so frightful, yet awesome.  And humbling.

Spread the news.