That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord's glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. "Don't be afraid!" he said. "I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior — yes, the Messiah, the Lord — has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger."
— Luke 2:8-12 NLT
Incredibly, when the angel of God announced the birth of God's Son, the King, they give his address as "lying in manger."
Luke wants us to grasp three powerful truths in this simple description.
- God is tapping into the long line of imagery that ties him and his work to shepherds.
- Even though shepherds were not respected in Jesus' day, God announces the birth of his Son to them first — it is part of Luke's emphasis on God's desire to reach all kinds of people across every strata of life.
- The Savior enters the world in humble circumstances, born to an ordinary and otherwise unnoticeable family.
The grand and the forgotten, the glorious and the abandoned, those who have the promise and those who are hopeful are all combined into God's story of love, grace, and salvation. The needle that sews this tapestry of grace is God's love. His thread is the Holy Spirit. His good news is that Jesus, God's Son and our Savior, has arrived at an address we can all find, knocking on the door of our hearts.
Holy and magnificent God, thank you for making yourself accessible and reachable in your Son. Thank you for taking away my greatest reason to be afraid by coming with your salvation for me in Jesus, in whose name I give you thanks. Amen.