The shepherds were a blessed lot. The glory of the Lord had shone around them. They also got a heavenly Chorus to proclaim to them the birth of the Savior.
They were terrified by all this. But then the angel told them not to be afraid. He also told them that this was good news of great joy!
What would happen if we got such angelic visitations today? Would we be terrified? Would we rejoice in the assurance that this is good news of great joy?
Or would we go around and brag about our angelic visitation? Would our minds puff up with this knowledge granted us directly from heaven?
Isn’t that what is happening in the Christian world today? A lot of talk about angelic visitations and the divine revelations got through them. Nothing is wrong with getting revelations from God. But what do we do with it? That is the question.
Let us look at the shepherds. They were not satisfied with such angelic visitations–even though they were of such magnitude that even some great prophets of the past hadn’t seen such glory. They were not satisfied with angelic messages. Therefore they said, “Let us go to Bethlehem and see.”
Shall we follow their example. Let us understand that angelic visitations are an encouragement to us to go and meet the Christ-Child.
They went and saw Jesus. It is recorded that they hurried to meet Him. “And when they had seen1 him, they spread the word concerning what had been told about this child” (Luke 2:17 NIV). Only after they had seen him did they spread the word concerning what had been told them about Jesus.
Let us talk about Him only after we have seen Him personally. Let angelic visitations be an encouragement to meet Him personally. Then, let us spread the word. Only then will our testimonies have any impact on the world. “We saw Him” has hundred times more impact than “we saw and heard the angels say about Him.”
It is also recorded that “And all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them” (Luke 2:18 NIV). It had impact because they were prepared to go to Bethlehem and see Christ. Shall we do likewise this Christmas. Shall we go and see Him. Then we shall spread the word.
And when the shepherds returned they too glorified and praised God. Note that they did not do so immediately after they had seen and heard the angels. The good news was far more important to them then because the message was, “Today1 in the town of David a Savior has been born to you” (Luke 2;11a NIV). They wanted to see the Savior immediately. Once they saw Him, they were so filled with the good news of great joy that they returned glorifying and praising God.
They were glad when they could verify the message of the angels. Shall we go and meet our Savior now. That we may return glorifying and praising God.
1 Emphasis added by author.