Suddenly, the night sky lights up with an ANGEL!
The angel is saying to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:10-12)
The shepherds are shocked! They're stricken with fear at first because of this amazing appearance! (Wouldn't we be too? After all, how many times has your nighttime been interrupted by an angel's appearance, glimmering in white?)
The Angel has good news for them, though: This appearance isn't to bring news of their doom or judgement, but of God's RESCUE! God was intervening in human history on THAT VERY NIGHT--and He sent the angel to announce it...to them!
"Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.” (v.14)
Now this 'herald angel' is joined by a whole crowd of them, and they're all saying the same thing: Glory to God!
God deserves Praise!
He is in Heaven, and Reigns over all!
He is the ONLY one who deserves praise!
"Gloria in Excelsis Deo" means "Glory to God in the Highest", and that's the praise that the Angels were bringing.
Jesus' birth resulted in praise of God.
Hmm...Jesus' birth resulted in praise of God...
The Shepherds' reaction?
"When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” (v. 15)
'We gotta check this out! If this is true...WOW!'
"So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told." (vv.16-20)
Sure enough, it was TRUE!
Exactly the the angel had said!
The shepherds worshiped the Lord that night...and then they spread the news.
They couldn't help but do so...after all, they'd heard that GOD had sent a SAVIOR into the world, in the form of a baby!
The shepherds...normally somewhat reclusive, normally somewhat outcasts who kept pretty much to themselves, became bold spokesmen for God!
After what they had experienced--an intervention of God in history--they couldn't pretend things were the way they had been.
They had to tell everyone!
Jesus birth resulted in praise to God...and spreading the news to others.
Maybe it should do the same for us!