Mary and Joseph are the main characters in this story. Now we move to the part of the story dealing with the visitors.
The shepherds were the first visitors. They came because they received a message from an angel. He said, “behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
Two things about this group of shepherds. One is that they were doing what they were supposed to be doing. What I mean is that they were just busy with their proper task, being shepherds. The second thing is that they must have been waiting for the Messiah. Their hearts must have been anticipating His coming. They must have been concerned about God and His word. The reason I say that is when the angel gave his message the shepherds did not doubt its truth. Their hearts responded to the news, because their hearts were focused on God.
The shepherds did not delay in going to find the Messiah. When they finished their visit, they told everyone about it. Wait a minute! What did they tell everyone? They didn’t talk about the incredible sight of so many angels. They didn’t point out how special they were since they were the ones who saw the angels. Luke 2:17 records, “When they had seen this, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child.” What was this statement that they told? It was “today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” Their message was about the Messiah, the Saviour of the world.
What should be our response to this part of the story? A first response should be to be busy doing what we ought to do. People often wonder what God’s will is for their lives. Young people anticipate doing God’s will when they are older. The way to do God’s will is to do what you know you ought to be doing. The shepherds were shepherds, so they were out watching their sheep. The Bible has some clearly stated things that we ought to be doing.
You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and
with all your soul and with all your might.
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church
and gave Himself up for her
encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject
to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.
Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe.
I Timothy 4:12
With all my heart I have sought You;
Do not let me wander from Your commandments.
Your word I have treasured in my heart,
That I may not sin against You.
These are just a few of the things that we should be busy doing. You can read the Bible and find more. If we are busy doing what we ought to be doing, God will guide us to do the next thing.
A next response is to be focused on God. We need to be reading God’s Word daily so that we know more about Him, and we will be able to respond when He calls. To give God first place in our lives means that we will have to confess our sin to Him and repent of it so that we are turned away from it. We need to believe that what God said in His Word is important and does relate to our lives today.
The third response is to be witnesses for God as well. The shepherds had a simple statement to tell. We have the complete Word of God. Even though the Bible has more words, our message is still simple. Just tell others what God says in His Word. Relate one passage of Scripture to a next passage and to a next one, and you will see that God explains Himself very well. You will need to read the whole Bible to find the parts that explain another part. You will need to read it over and over, because we miss things the first time through. Jesus the Saviour of the world needs to be our message, just as He was the shepherds’ message.