Summary: As we peek at the shepherds out on the hills of Bethlehem that first Christmas night let’s see what we can learn from them.
Christmas through Their Eyes
“Christmas through SHEPHERDS’ Eyes”
Luke 2:8-9, 15-17, 20
Introduction: What time is it? It is Christmastime of course. But what is Christmas a time for? For many of us it is a time of decorating, baking, cooking, cleaning, singing, sending cards, buying presents, going to parties, eating, family, etc.
For the shepherds it was really quite different. There was no baking, family, and gift buying or card sending. But as we look at their experience perhaps we can be influenced in how we celebrate Christmas and what Christmas should mean to us.
As we peek at the shepherds out on the hills of Bethlehem that first Christmas night let’s see what we can learn from them as we see “Christmas through SHEPHERDS’ eyes.”
To the Shepherds, Christmas was a time of…
1. Terror. (vv. 8-9)
“living out in the fields” - Not under the stars, but probably living in tents.
Shepherd’s Field was about 2 or 3 miles from Bethlehem. The shepherds would keep their sheep there from April until the fall. These were the sheep that would be used in the sacrifices throughout the year at the temple in Jerusalem.
“keeping watch over their flock by night” - Literally “keeping the watches of the night” or “keeping the night watches”. They were working the night shift.
These sacrificial animals needed to be protected from wolves and thieves.
v. 9 – “behold” – Suddenly with no warning an angel was there. First he was not and then he was! Perhaps this was the third appearance of Gabriel.
“glory of the Lord” – This would be the Shekinah glory that was a sign of the Lord’s presence in the OT.
It is interesting that the Shekinah glory had left Israel in Ezekiel 10:18 and 11: 23.
Then the glory of the LORD departed from over the threshold of the temple… Ezekiel 10:18 (NIV)
The glory of the LORD went up from within the city and stopped above the mountain east of it. Ezekiel 11:23 (NIV)
It had departed and not returned…until NOW at the birth of Jesus (Emmanuel – God with us)!
“Very afraid” – terrified, scared out of their wits, freaked out, however you say it they were beyond scared.
What are you afraid of? For the shepherds, it was fear of the unexpected (appeared out of nowhere), fear of the unknown (angels did not regularly appear to people especially shepherds), fear of judgment (angels usually came to pronounce God’s judgment).
Perhaps you are the same way. You fear the unexpected, the unknown, perhaps even judgment. Maybe there are other things that you fear besides these.
Let me first remind you why this angel was there. He was not there to announce judgment, but joy! He was there to announce the birth of the final sacrificial lamb to those that were watching the sacrificial lambs!
For us today, God’s Word is this: