“Let us go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us”  Luke 2:16

“Now when they had seen Him they made widely known the saying which was told them”  Luke 2:17

So when you come across some knowledge, some bit of insight, some wisdom that has come to you from somewhere else; do you ever find yourself asking:  Okay what do I do with this?  Do I ponder it for a while and decide that it is interesting, tuck it away in my memory for later use, but go about my everyday life as if nothing new had come to me?  Do I share it with others?  But since the insight did not come from me; what if they ask me questions that I can’t answer?  Or maybe knowledge is power, so I don’t want to freely give it away, I need to find some way to profit from it?  In a worldly way the idea seems to be, how can I use it to my advantage.

So imagine you’re a shepherd.  Along with your companions you are watching some sheep.  You have not noticed the new star in the sky and even if you had, the fact that it is a portent of some great change would not occur to you.  Suddenly the dark sky opens up with an angel who is talking to you; talking about some good news.  Then imagine that angel is joined by a heavenly host of angels all praising God!  As the bible says you might start out terrified but then be filled with awe and wonder.  But then the angels leave.  They did not give you any commandment, nor, if you had any religious background, is there any commandment in that background for you to go and do anything.  You could just as easily say to each other:  “Wow that was amazing!” and then stay and continue to watch over your sheep.  The job for which you were responsible for and for which the world paid you a meager wage.  But these shepherds teach us a different lesson.  In society they would have been considered among the meek.  That is to say no one would have paid them much attention except to say that they smelled funny.  That they were possibly a brave lot, when a wolf or other predator menaced the flock, they would look to defend it might be true.  But these were not men known for a significant amount of earthly wisdom.  Yet these men seemingly had little hesitation.  This was God stuff.  That they knew God or at least knew of Him is unquestioned given the actions that they took.  For almost immediately they felt compelled to leave their flocks and go and find the Gift Child, the Savior whom the angels had told them about.

So imagine you’re a shepherd.  You have not only seen a heavenly vision but now you have seen the Child, the Savior.  It is just as was foretold, wrapped in cloth and lying in a manger.  So what now?  You go back to your flocks pondering the nights events and talking about it amongst yourselves?  For you are shepherds.  You know that hardly anyone pays you any attention.  Why would anyone listen to you?  With a story like this, some perhaps many would think that you and your companions have been into the wine.  Your livelihood might even be in jeopardy?  No, this event has impacted you so much that you become bold.  You go about sharing what you have heard and what you have seen.  You don’t particularly care what the people’s response to your story is because you know that it is true, you know that it is important.  You don’t go and start a movement and declare:  “Pay me and I’ll tell you a truth that will change your life!”  No you go widely and share the blessing that you received.

So are you doing it?  Are you imagining yourself as a shepherd?  Because we have the news of the shepherds.  More than that we have news that the shepherds did not have (except that they were told Jesus was the Savior).  We know specifically that Jesus Christ, lived, died and was resurrected to save us from our sins and give us everlasting life!  We also have the word of the Lord that promises manifold blessings of peace and love.  And we have two commandments that on the face of it seem simple and perhaps easy, but in the reality of action are a manifest struggle:  Love the Lord our God with all our heart, mind, body and soul.  And to love others as we love ourselves.

So what now?  Where are we called to travel; not out of sense of compliance to directive, but out of a joy to help.  What are we called to share; knowing that some if not many may ridicule us for seemingly simply naive and silly faith.  The world says stop!  Go nowhere!  Share nothing!  Yet if we listen, if we shut the world out, we can still hear the voice of heaven:  I bring you good news of glad tidings………  And like wanting share about a great movie, great resterant, or even great investment, we feel called to share with others.  Lord may it be that you would give me (us) the strength to be like the shepherds.  This world is in such need of the message of Love and Salvation that you have already brought to us.  May we freely pass that message on.

Amen.

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