Luke 2:8-12 CSB – 8 In the same region, shepherds were staying out in the fields and keeping watch at night over their flock. 9 Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid, for look, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people: 11 “Today in the city of David a Savior was born for you, who is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 “This will be the sign for you: You will find a baby wrapped tightly in cloth and lying in a manger.”
G5479 – chara – calm delight; gladness
Why were shepherds keeping watch at night?
Because there was possible (and probable) danger nearby. The shepherds weren’t sitting in lawn chairs, roasting marshmallows and sharing ghost stories; they were standing outside the perimeter of the flock, scanning the darkness and listening for wolves or any other predator.
And a “normal” night suddenly becomes anything but . . .
The good news of great joy was announced, but the circumstances of life did not change. They were still shepherds. They were still under Roman rule. And Jesus would not begin his ministry for another 30 or so years . . .
Do you ever wonder how many of those particular shepherds were in attendance at the Sermon on the Mount some thirty years later? Did any of them hear Jesus as he told the parable of the lost sheep? Were any of them in the region of the Jordan when John the Baptist proclaimed, “Here is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!
Do you ever feel that “I know that it’s true, but when?” Waiting is hard.
Psalm 16:8-11 CSB – 8 I always let the LORD guide me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. 9 Therefore my heart is glad and my whole being rejoices; my body also rests securely. 10 For you will not abandon me to Sheol; you will not allow your faithful one to see decay. 11 You reveal the path of life to me; in your presence is abundant joy; at your right hand are eternal pleasures.
When waiting, I remember God’s promises, and His faithfulness.
And, most precious to me . . .His Immanuel, He is with me — even during the waiting.
So I can have joy, a settled gladness, because I belong to God.