“When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us." And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child.”
(Luke 2:15-17 ESV)
Most of us are familiar with the Christmas story found in Luke 2. We remember how, as they took care of their flocks, an angel appeared to some shepherds. He announced to them the birth of the Savior, telling them that they would find the baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger. A whole host of angels then appeared singing praises to God.
As we see in the above passage, upon receiving this news, they went to Bethlehem to find the newborn Savior. They found Mary and Joseph, and baby Jesus lying in the manger. They then went out and shared this news with others.
This isn’t a terribly new insight. However, whenever I read this account, it forces me to ask an important question of myself. It forces me to ask: “What is my response to the message of the Savior?”
For many of us, the story of Jesus’ birth is very familiar. The message of the gospel is very familiar. Perhaps it’s even too familiar.
What I mean by this is that, because we’ve heard it so many times, it’s old hat. It doesn’t fill us with awe, as it should. Like the carols that we sing, it’s simply a part of the season that we enjoy, and that we go on to forget for another year.
I’m reminded, as I read this passage, that my response should be like that of the shepherds. Upon hearing the news of Jesus’ coming, my first response should be to go to him. My response should be to receive him for myself as my Savior and Lord. As Jesus himself says to us in Matthew 11:28, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
This should be my immediate response because this is why Jesus was sent into the world, to save us from our sin. And, in response to this news, I should gladly receive this gift God has given. I should receive for myself the blessing of the Savior.
Then, like the shepherds, I should share this message. I should share it because the Savior didn’t come for me alone. As the angel announced, in verse 10 of Luke 2, this is good news of great joy for all the people.
Knowing that the Christ has come to provide salvation for the world, I should take this message to all I encounter. I should share with them the hope that they have in Christ. I should share it with them in hope that they too might turn to him in faith.