Prayer for you, have you met the Shepherd of mankind?
Praise God, for Baby Jesus!

Preschoolers love to act out the Christmas story. As you pass out costumes, everyone wants to be the angel, Mary, Joseph, shepherds, sheep, cow, donkey and maybe a few chicks. The scene is complete until someone decides to be the doctor who wraps the baby doll in cloth saying to Mary and Joseph, “Congratulations, it’s a God!”

Preschoolers love to be the shepherds. Cool sackcloth to wear, crazy head scarf and a shepherd hook to hold! Throw in a few curly sheep and their moms better have their cameras ready! Do you wonder, though, why God chose to share the message He proclaimed as He did to whom He did? Shepherds were a despised class with a bad reputation, who sometimes got confused with what is mine and what is thine. Their work prohibited them to observe Jewish ceremonial laws and temple rituals. Interestingly, these shepherds were in the same fields where David had been called to tend to God’s flock, Israel, when an angel of the Lord stood upon earth beside them and the Glory of the Lord shown around them.

Can you imagine? But God wasn’t bringing them fear, He was bringing them Good News of eternal joy, a gift, the Messiah, the Babe in a manger–a personal relationship inviting them to come into His Presence through His Son, the Savior, Messiah, and Lord, who would be available to all. This event was too important to be heralded by one angel. All heaven was interested in the departure of its Prince and marveled at the grace of the Father who sent Him. So to announce the coming of Eternal Peace, a Heavenly Host–God’s Army–appeared giving Glory to God in the highest and blessing on God and peace upon man. When the Heavenly Host left, the shepherds said, “Let’s go!”

Have you ever thought about Mary’s perspective on this night? If Luke interviewed Mary years after Jesus’ birth, what did she treasure in her heart? What did she tell him about the shepherds and angels? Did her memory evoke her exhaustion, her newfound mother’s love intermixed with the surprise of shepherds arriving and talking among themselves nonstop? Wow, it’s just like the angel said, a baby in a feeding box. Never seen that before! And as their story unfolded, did Mary ask, “Do you want to hold Him?” You know how new mothers are.

I have to wonder, did these shepherds of sheep realize they had met the Shepherd of mankind? Jesus is the Good Shepherd (John 10:14), Chief Shepherd (1 Peter 5:4), Great Shepherd (Hebrews 13:20), and the One Shepherd (John 10:16). I have to believe their encounter with the Babe forever changed them. They were now some of the earliest evangelists testifying to God’s work. Their response exemplifies the awe that should fill anyone who hears Jesus’ story. Why? Once you meet Jesus, you can’t say the same.
(Loosely based on The Day God Became a Baby by David O. Dykes)

1. God has delivered His Good News invitation to you today.
2. What is your response to His RSVP?

In the name of Jesus, Immanuel,
Janet Waters, Brentwood Baptist Church member/Prayer Room Intercessor

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