Shepherds Were Used to Watching
On a quiet still night the shepherds around Bethlehem watched the evening skies. They were used to watching. They watched their flocks day after day, night after night. They searched the skies for signs of changes in the weather. Most had a passion for astronomy. They knew the heavens. They had slept under the canopy of a star studded sky for a lifetime. They knew the signs of the sky. They knew the location of the stars. They knew the names of some of the stars, gave new names to others, and some they left for others to name.
This particular evening was different. They noticed a strange star. For you and me, that might not be such a big deal. To a shepherd, however, one who would notice, one who was used to watching, a gigantic question arose in their minds. “What is this?”, they thought.
As the evening progressed, their wonderment became fear. Something is wrong! Something is different! All of a sudden, out of nowhere, an angel appeared and the glory of God shown all about them. In their hearts they were scared witless, but because they were used to watching, they watched on… and listened. The angel announced that what they had waited for 1500 years was now happening. The Christ, the Messiah was born. The coming of the Savior meant that Israel was soon going to be free.
If that wasn’t enough, suddenly a heavenly host of angels appeared on the scene praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom His favor rest.” What a show! What a display of heavenly purpose! He didn’t come to the prophets or the priest, He came to those who were accustomed to watching. He came to the shepherds.
After the encounter with the angels, the shepherds hurried off to find Joseph and Mary and the babe, the Christ, the Messiah that the angels had announced.
Christ was born once, never to be born again. He lived and died and on the third day rose from the grave never to die again. Those who watch will still see Him. Those who are used to watching can still see His power. They can still see the star that leads seekers to Him. They can still hear the glorious sounds of praises that herald forth His coming.
As 1994 approaches, let’s be like the shepherds. Let’s keep watchful eye and a listening ear out for God. If there is anything the church needs today or any other day in her life, it is to be led of God. Remember, the shepherds saw Him because they were used to watching. We too, will see Him if we will but watch.