Jesus Is Coming To Town: The Shepherds Were Given Hope!
During the Advent Season we will look at Jesus Is Coming to Town. Each week we will look at a different town and meet different people. Today we meet shepherds, and the town is Bethlehem, and the Advent Gift is Hope!
Imagine an unforgettable night! This was a night like nonother! I was warming myself by the fire with four of my friends. Suddenly there was this bright light, we could hardly see, it was so brilliantly bright! Then an angel of the Lord, stood there, not 10 feet away. I fell to one knee, the angel was huge, well he was really tall, and he looked very powerful.
Verse 10-11 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”
The angel didn’t want us to be afraid. We were chosen to hear good news and glad tidings. The angel came to make sure the good news would be shared! The angel told us that in the city of David, Bethlehem, our town, a Savior was born. This baby is God’s anointed King. God’s Chosen one to be the King! My heart was pounding, I could hardly breathe--could this really be happening? The King of all the ages has been born. My King has come!
Verse 12 “And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”
The angel was telling us that we could find the Baby, all we had to do is look for the baby boy lying in the animal troth. The city was crowded, there was no room in the Inn. We would find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger!
Suddenly the angel was not alone. There was a whole company of angels. I have never seen anything like it. It was so bright--it was like the sun shining at noon, day!
Luke 2:14 “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”
The angels have just come from the presence of the Lord God Almighty, they are radiant and fearful and majestic. They pause to give glory to God in the highest. Then they proclaim God’s message to the earth, to all people at the birth of His one and only Son, God was doing this in a big way, spectacular!
“Let there be peace! God sent His only Son to bring peace in our hearts, to restore our relationship with God. When we receive His peace, then we can more adequately love our neighbor, show acts of kindness, and demonstrate goodwill toward all people.”
My fear was fading, peace and awe, and a sense of purity I had never felt before came over me. This was a holy moment!
My friends and I enjoyed the moment. I don’t know how long it lasted, it was so beautiful! Then suddenly the angels were gone. They vanished into the night, as quickly as they came.
Suddenly, I was filled with hope. Not far from here was my King. My friends turned and said to me,
Verse 15 “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.”
We started our search by going to the Bethlehem Inn. The Innkeeper was fast asleep, we pounded on the door several times, before he called to us. He opened the door, and we told him we were looking for a newborn babe that would be lying in a manger. He told us to look around back, a teenage mom had had a baby about an hour ago.
Verse 16 “And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger.”
It was just like the angel said it would be. I knelt down near the babe, and suddenly my heart was filled with hope and love. Here was the King that prophets and priest had talked about for over 700 years and I was looking into His eyes. Then Mary, his mother, asked us how did we hear of His birth? How did we know?
All five of us began to tell her and Joseph at once. We were so excited to tell them about the angel and then the company of angels and everything that was said about the babe.
Mary’s face was all a glow, she took in every word.
Verse 19 “But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.”
Verse 20 “Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.”
All the way back to the hills of Bethlehem, we prayed, and we gave thanks to God for being privileged to see His Son our King, and we praised God for His amazing angels! Hope was firmly planted in my heart and soul that night. I would never lose hope because I had seen the King! It was a night I would never forget!
What is Hope? Hope can be an expectation, a longing, something you anticipate will happen. So, hope sounds a lot like a wish, a desire, perhaps a goal. But for the Christian: hope is the confident expectation of what God has promised and its strength, is in His faithfulness. Our ultimate hope is to reach Heaven and live with God forever! One of our hopes is for Christ to soon return and call us to meet Him.
Hope is one of the gifts that Jesus natural gives as He comes to Town. When people encounter Jesus, their lives take on hope. For one reason, they hope to experience him again and again. Jesus spoke of a better life, an abundant life, and we naturally hope to live in that abundance of love and grace.
When Jesus comes to Town, we would expect people to hope to see Him again and a longing begins in their hearts to live with Him forever.
Are you ready for a fresh dose of Hope? Can you imagine anything better than living with Jesus?