When was the last time you heard good news? Perhaps you received a promotion or a job you’ve been waiting for. Maybe you were given a favorable diagnosis, a surprise vacation, or the person of your dreams appeared! What did you do after you heard the good news? Did you keep the news to yourself? No! You probably couldn’t wait to tell someone. Perhaps the news was so wonderful you wanted to tell the whole world.
Luke tells us how the good news of Christ’s birth was passed on from the angels to the shepherds and from the shepherds to all who would listen:
“Now there were shepherds in that region living in the fields and keeping the night watch over their flock. The angel of the Lord appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were struck with great fear. The angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.’ And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying: ‘Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.’ When the angels went away from them to heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let us go, then, to Bethlehem to see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.’ So they went in haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known the message that had been told them about this child. All who heard it were amazed by what had been told them by the shepherds” (Luke 2:8-18).
The first to learn of Jesus’ birth were not kings, politicians, people of status or people who were well connected, but ordinary shepherds on night watch in the fields. In ancient Palestine, shepherds were considered to be among the lowest classes of humanity. Their job was to handle dirty, smelly sheep, which made them unclean and rendered them outsiders. God chose these lowly outsiders to be the first evangelizers, the first to tell the world the good news. But why?
Perhaps their simplicity allowed their hearts to be moved by the good news, to believe, to be amazed, to be astonished and to be awestruck. Like children on Christmas morning, the shepherds were so filled with wonder that even the most cynical and the most jaded would have had trouble not believing their message.
Like the shepherds, God comes to us in the ordinary circumstances of life. We too are challenged to stop what we are doing long enough to see what God is doing all around us. We too are called to simplicity of heart, to allow ourselves to believe, to be amazed, to be astonished, to be awestruck and to be filled with wonder. Like the shepherds, we too are moved to tell others the good news.
So, go! Tell it on the mountain, over the hills and everywhere that Jesus Christ is born!
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