Once Jesus was born, the world would never be the same. For the days, months, and centuries to follow, people would continue to hear that Jesus came down from heaven, entered the world as a baby, and would grow up to show us what our heavenly Father is like. The good news that everyone was invited to be part of God’s family led to around 1,000 followers of Jesus in just 40 years in a world with no electricity or fast transportation. Christianity then spread to more than 2 million followers in just 300 years, with over 2 billion followers today.
But let’s go back. Who were those first people responsible for spreading the news of Jesus? Who did God choose to be first in line to get the word about Jesus outside of that stable? It wasn’t prophets, priests, or politicians. It was none other than shepherds. It was shepherds minding their own business (or actually minding their sheep’s business), when they were interrupted—and shocked—at the appearance of angels telling them about the birth of Jesus and where to find him. Once they got over the amazement of being in the vicinity of angels, see how they responded. This is from Luke, chapter two:
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.”
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. (Luke 2:15–20)
Think about all the action words in that passage. Luke wrote that the first thing the shepherds said to each other was, Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened. Then he tells us they hurried and spread the word, that people were amazed, and that the shepherds were glorifying and praising God.
Now it’s unreasonable for us to have the same type of emotional response to the Christmas story every time we hear it. But while we may not have the same level of reaction when we hear this familiar story, it should still elicit a response. The story is a reminder to us that Jesus is worth sharing. The people around me are worth telling this good news of great joy that is for all people.
Even Mary, who was in no physical condition to do any hurrying and telling, still treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. What was happening at that point in time was not lost on her.
What’s your reaction to this story? Consider taking a cue from the first messengers to spread the word about the birth of Jesus. Who can you share the news of Jesus with this Christmas?
Heavenly Father, the Christmas story really is remarkable. Help us to see and hear it with fresh eyes and ears this year. Give us a posture of curiosity and a responsive heart as we look for opportunities to share the good news with others. Thank you for the reminder that it’s a story worth sharing. Amen.
Once Jesus was born, the world would never be the same. For the days, months, and centuries to follow, people would continue to hear that Jesus came down from heaven, entered the world as a baby, and would grow up to show us what our heavenly Father is like.