And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”
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 his 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.
On the fields near Bethlehem, it was the shepherd’s responsibility to keep the sheep safe from predators or thieves. It was definitely a lowly task and not what one would necessarily aspire to be. But it had to be done. These particular sheep were most likely needed for temple sacrifices. Sins must be atoned for. Blood must be shed.
It was in the middle of this work that their night was suddenly interrupted in a most spectacular way. An angel of the Lord came to the lowliest of mankind and announced the good news of Jesus’ birth! He told them exactly what to look for. And then to proclaim in a most spectacular way the Lord’s eternal glory and faithful love, the sky filled with an army of angels full of praise in response to this message of eternal significance!
They immediately went to see for themselves that which the angels had told them about. They didn’t hesitate! It wasn’t as if what they were doing before wasn’t important. It was! This news, however, took priority in that moment. After all, God himself stepped off his throne and into a lowly manger, for us!
They took this interruption seriously! They could not keep quiet! They had to tell everyone what they had seen and heard. They were no longer only shepherds but were now joyful witnesses and heralds!
Notice though that they were still shepherds. They went back to the sheep that needed them. It was within their vocations that they continued to serve God and praise him for all he had done for them!
Oh, that we would find ourselves so pliable when our lives get interrupted! We might not have hosts of angels calling us to attention in the middle of a diaper change or a meeting at work, but we have plenty of interruptions in our daily lives that call our attention back to him. Our mundane tasks are still important for it is there that we serve God and our neighbor. But sometimes these interruptions are more than an inconvenience. They can rock our world, bring us to our knees, and make us look to him for help! If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that some of the biggest interruptions in life can offer some of the greatest gifts.
Dear Father in heaven, forgive me when I look at my life’s interruptions as something to avoid or even detest. Help me to see them as opportunities to prioritize and draw me closer to you. Thank you for the gift of faith and the privilege of being able to share the Gospel message with those around me. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.
Written by Rachel Halldorson
Provided by WELS Women’s Ministry