That night, some shepherds were in the fields there watching their sheep. An angel of the Lord (God) stood before the shepherds. The glory of the Lord was shining around them. The shepherds became very afraid. The angel said to them, "Don't be afraid. I have some very good news for you. It will make all the people very happy. Today your Savior was born in David's town. He is Christ, the Lord. This is how you will know him: You will find a baby wrapped in pieces of cloth and lying in a feeding box."
— Luke 2:8-12
Incredibly, when the angels of God announced the birth of God's Son, the King, they give his address as "lying in a feeding"—or manger as we traditionally say. Luke wants us to grasp three powerful truths in this simple description. First, God is tapping into the long line of imagery that ties him and his work to shepherds. Second, 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. Third, 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, the promise and the 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, his 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. Most of all, 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.
Today's Verses in Context
That night, some shepherds were in the fields there watching their sheep. An angel of the Lord (God) stood before the shepherds. The glory of the Lord was shining around them. The shepherds became very afraid. The angel said to them, "Don't be afraid. I have some very good news for you. It will make all the people very happy. Today your Savior was born in David's town. He is Christ, the Lord. This is how you will know him: You will find a baby wrapped in pieces of cloth and lying in a feeding box." Then a very large group of angels from heaven joined the first angel. All the angels were praising God, saying: "Praise God in heaven, and on earth let there be peace to the people that please God." The angels left the shepherds and went back to heaven. The shepherds said to each other, "We will go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened. We will see this thing the Lord (God) told us about." So the shepherds went quickly and found Mary and Joseph. The baby was lying in the feeding box. The shepherds saw the baby. Then they told what the angels said about this child. Everyone was surprised when they heard what the shepherds told them. Mary continued to think about these things. She was trying to understand them. The shepherds went back to their sheep, praising God and thanking him for everything that they had seen and heard. It was just as the angel had told them.
Related Scripture Readings
Who really believed the things we announced? Who really accepted the Lord's punishment? He grew up like a small plant before the Lord. He was like a root growing in dry ground. He did not look special. He had no special glory. If we looked at him, we would see nothing special that would cause us to like him.
Zion, you have good news to tell. Go up on a high mountain and shout the good news! Jerusalem, you have good news to tell. Don't be afraid, speak loudly! Tell this news to all of the cities of Judah: "Look, here is your God! The Lord my Master is coming with power. He will use his power to rule all the people. The Lord will bring rewards for his people. He will have their payment with him. The Lord will lead his people like a shepherd leads sheep. The Lord will use his arm (power) and gather his sheep together. The Lord will pick up the little sheep and hold them in his arms. Their mothers will walk beside him.
You were like sheep that went the wrong way. But now you have come back to the Shepherd and Protector of your lives.
1 Peter 2:25