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Advent Week 3: The Joy of the Shepherds

brown wooden manger with cloth in it against a black background
December 12, 2021
Todd Gaddy

Angels tend to freak people out.
One did one day. Or rather, night.

It’s a part of the Christmas story, right? Shepherds doing what shepherds do. Watching their sheep. Tending to their care. In this story, in the dark.
Side note: Ever had someone startle you? They just appeared out of nowhere and well, you almost lost it?
Yeah. That’s kind of what happened.

In the middle of darkness and routine in a field that night, up stepped an angel. Cue the atmospherics. The glory of the Lord started shining all around the shepherds. And… get ready for an understatement… “they were filled with great fear.”

Then the angel started talking.
“Fear not.” (he’s obviously reading his audience well)
“Good news. Great joy. For all.”
“Bethlehem. A birth. A Savior.”
Then, more angels. A choir.
“Glory to God!”

I’m pretty sure “overwhelmed” might describe how I’d be feeling at this point. Pretty sure the shepherds felt the same.
But don’t miss what those shepherds who saw it all, then said about it all.
“Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing.”

The joy the angel said was coming, they got it.
Joy. That deep feeling of satisfaction and happiness – and here’s the most important part – that’s dependent on who Jesus is rather than who we are or what’s happening around us.
The shepherds definitely got it.
And here’s how we know. Because of what they did next. Did you catch it?
The shepherd’s joy did two things – helped them to not be afraid, and compelled them to discover more about the source of the joy.
That’s what this week in the Christmas season is about. That kind of joy. The kind that helps calm our fears and causes us to want to draw close to Jesus.

So if you light a candle to remember that joy, or you simply read the story of some shepherds surprised at night a long time ago, realize the good news an angel talked about lives on. For all.
Good news that brings great joy.
It’s something only Jesus can give. And has. And still does.

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