And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not…” ~Luke 2:8-10
The angels said, “Fear not,” not because they are not terrifying. They are! And not because we should not fear them. We should. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,” said Solomon the wisest (Proverbs 9:10). Fear is not merely respect, but appreciation, a terrifying appreciation of God’s overwhelming majesty, his awesome power, and something even more, his wonderful goodness–and how much we fall short, how much we are outside, even at war, with his goodness. We rightfully fear the fulness of God’s majesty, his power, his justice, and his goodness, so, Jesus comes in humility to a little town of Bethlehem, to a manger, to shepherds in a field.
The angel of the Lord said, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger” (Luke 2:10-12). God chose shepherds in the field, not kings in their palace, because kings would consider it their due. Shepherds have no illusions to their own power or majesty or position. It is only in humility that a baby in a manger will be recognized as Savior of the world. God chooses shepherds to show us the Savior.
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” ~Luke 2:13-14
Peace is not something found in this world, it finds us from heaven. This is the beauty of Christmas, God finding favor in shepherds and an unwed mother and her husband-to-be and wise men from the east who kneel before their Savior. Peace comes when you fear God, and nothing else.
Almighty God, like King David, I am amazed that you pay attention to me. That You would come to us, not in Your majesty, but in humility. I did not find You because I look in the wrong places, not Bethlehem, not a manger, so You found me in humility. You brought me to my knees and I would stay there, but You lifted me up and now I stand before You and for You.
Thank You for the peace that passes any earthly understanding. I look forward to that day when You come again in full majesty, and peace returns to its eternal place in this world. I love You, Jesus.