Summary: Studying the First Hand Accounts of the Birth of Christ.
A CHRISTMAS STORY PART III
INTRO: THE CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS SPECIAL (If You Can Get a Copy, Show It)
There is no doubt that USA has been marveled over Christ’s birth for centuries. Today, we see all sorts of commercialism, all sorts of lights, all sorts of to be honest, pretty neat and pretty odd stuff. But my most favorite show of all Christmas season, is undoubtedly, the Charlie Brown Christmas Special. When everyone is struggling to find the meaning of Christmas, and ol’ Charlie had gone out and picked out the worst Christmas tree imaginable, my little blanket carrying friend tells us exactly what we need to hear.
"And there were in the same country shepherds, abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them! And they were sore afraid ... And the angel said unto them, "Fear not! For, behold, I bring you tidings o great joy, which shall be to all my people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ, the Lord."
"And this shall be a sign unto you: Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger." And suddenly, there was with the angel a multitude of the Heavenly Host praising God, and saying, "Glory to God in the Highest, and on Earth peace, and good will toward men."
"That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown." - Linus Van Pelt
BIBLE VERSE: Luke 2:8-20
8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Chris.t 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."
13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14 "Glory to God in the highest, 14 and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."
15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about."
16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
I. Who Gets the Birth Announcement? The Sheep Herders.
I use the word sheep herders rather than shepherds, because it gives a more realistic ring to exactly what this occupation really was considered. The term sheep herders is much more derogatory, and this occupation really was considered low.
A. There is Only One Birth Announcement: When my children were born, we had parents on speed dial. In fact, Lori’s mom came across the state, multiple times, to make sure she did not miss it (you will want to make your own birth announcement here). Then after our babies came, people came by the hospital, people came by the house, an article was written in the local newspaper. Heck, for the boys birth, there were people making meals for us over a month afterwards. But in this case, there is nothing like that. Just some stinky, nasty, farm workers who never even bothered to clean up.
B. Sheep Herders Were Outcasts: They were religious outcasts, spiritually unclean by all religious standards. Because of their line of work, they were forbidden from all ceremonies and holidays. Their jobs were not 40 hours a week. It wasn’t even 60 hours a week. It was a 24/7 deal. A modern comparison to this occupation might be a truck driver—only that there are unions that are designed to prevent overworking.
C. Sheep Herder Facts:
1. They were constantly on the move, sort of like carnival workers.
2. They were often accused of being thieves, corrupt.
3. They “lived” out in the fields (check out verse 8), they were just there, they lived there (picture them as the kind of person that eyed sheep all day, then just laid down in the dirt and slept on a rock).