(Luke 2:7-9 KJV) And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. 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.
This scripture is read more at Christmas than at any other time of the year. Sunday school teachers love to tell the story about Mary and Joseph giving birth to baby Jesus in a barn and wrapping Him in swaddling clothes and laying Him in a manger. Pastors love to give the theological reason for Christ’s coming and what each of the gifts meant that the three Wise Men brought to baby Jesus.
The music department loves to participate by going to the storage room and dusting off the manger and all the other props that are needed to make up the nativity scene. Sometimes they even go so far as to set up a live nativity scene in front of the church by using real people to play the parts of Mary and Joseph and baby Jesus. Of course this scene would not be complete without the three Wise men baring gifts and a couple of unwilling animals (such as a donkey and a sheep), looking on.
All of these things are wonderful reminders of the birth of our Lord and we should continue to participate in them but there is a lot more to this story.
The night of Jesus’ birth the greatest ‘Light show’ on earth took place out in the fields where the shepherds were tending the flocks by night. The Light the shepherds saw was not manufactured by man…no, it was none other than the Glory of the Lord putting on a ‘Light show’ for the shepherds to see. In other words, this Light was the result of all heaven celebrating the birth of the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.
I suppose the real question is, why did the heavens ‘Light show’ take place in the field with the lowly shepherds and not with the wise, the powerful, and the rich?
It was appropriate for the celebration of the Chief Shepherd (Jesus) to be done first for the lower shepherds.
When the Bible said, “There was no room for Mary and Joseph in the inn”…that was a prophetic statement. The fact is there never seems to be any room at all for the Glory of God in anything natural. That is why the Lord has always displayed His Glory in the common places such as in the barn where He was born, in the field where the shepherds were and in you and me.
When Jesus was born I am sure that Mary and Joseph did as I do when I am around a new baby. They gazed at His tiny little hands and feet and face.
However, Mary and Joseph did not know that there were probably other little babies being born that same night that would one day be driving spikes in their little Baby’s hands and feet. Little did Mary and Joseph know that their Baby would be the sacrificial Lamb for the sins of all mankind including the ones that would nail their Baby to the cross.
Little did they know as they were gazing at their Baby that He was the Son of God and that His death would make way for you and me to also become sons of God.
We have a theme park in San Antonio called Feasta Texas. The park was actually built in a gravel pit where millions of tons of gravel had been mined over the years. This mammoth old pit had extremely high rock cliffs which proved to be a perfect fit for the laser show the park did each night at closing time. When the laser lights bounced off those high walls it was absolutely spectacular. It was so breathtaking that all one could hear was a low roar from the crowd of, “Wow, Wow, Wow”.
One can only imagine how these lowly shepherds felt when they unexpectedly saw this breathtaking Glory ‘Light show’ celebrating of the birth of the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. I know all I can say while I am thinking about such a display is, “Wow, Wow, Wow”.
Thank You for showing Your glory to the shepherds first. We as shepherds are still overwhelmed by that Glory as we continue to tell the story of that faithful night that changed the world for all mankind.