10And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 12And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. 13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 14Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. -Luke 2:10-14 (KJV)
Down through the ages followers of Christ have wondered about the events of Luke 2. One of the questions which has been speculated on is this; why the shepherds? Were they more worthy than others, were they more open to receive the message, or were they in the right place at the right time? These men were not necessarily more worthy, nor were they more open, and it certainly wasn’t a matter of luck. Instead, they were chosen by God to be the first to learn of Christ’s birth. God has His reasons and we will not presume to question Him.
I believe the shepherds were representative of all the people who need to hear the message and have hope instilled in their hearts. We all stand in need of salvation, and Christ has provided the means. Christ has brought hope into the world, and without hope we wither and die. Hope is the driving force which reminds us there is a purpose to life after all. Day after day, year after year, these shepherds toiled on, looking after their sheep, and they did so without any hope their situation would ever change for the better. They were not about to receive a promotion anytime soon. The work involved long hours, little pay, and little recognition. Does this sound familiar? Countless people follow the same routine each day, toiling on and wondering if their lives will ever change or get better.
It’s easy to see why these men might have grown discouraged in their work as so many people do when they come to believe their lives are going nowhere. Jesus brings hope and new life to an otherwise dull existence. A lost and troubled world needs the hope which Christ provides. Hope in Christ calms our fears. From fear comes worry, which produces internal strife, which in turn robs us of peace. We all need the peace Christ offers because we are all afraid of something. Someone might say they he or she isn’t afraid of anything, and while such boldness sounds impressive it is difficult to believe. Everyone has something which troubles them and creates at least some fear. Jesus Christ overcomes fear in our lives and brings about His blessed peace. People have long believed they can find peace without the Lord, yet the peace they find will not last. Christ brings to us lasting peace and everlasting life.
Christ helps us to overcome our fears. God can and will use us despite our fears – be sure of that. However, when we overcome the obstacles fear creates we become ever more useful to God. Our entire outlook on life changes for the better. Instead of seeing defeat we begin to see victory – the victory Christ brings. We may have problems, troubles, weaknesses, yet the Lord can still use us. We might be broken, yet we are still of tremendous value in God's kingdom.
Glory to God in the highest – Christ has come and in Him there is hope.