For centuries before the Messiah’s birth, the perfect sacrifice presented before the God of Abraham was an innocent little lamb. This would be the payment brought before God to ransom mankind from the hold of sin, but it was a temporary fix. When Jesus was born on that first Christmas Eve, He became the lamb without defect that would take away the sins of the entire world. – past, present and future.
The sun went down. The herd of bleating sheep had finally had their fill of fresh, nourishing grass. They snuggled together for a quiet night of sleep. The shepherds were tired too, but they remained watchful as danger lurked at every turn. They took turns watching over the flock, making sure the sheep were all safe. Hungry wolves circled the herd in hopes of finding that one lamb that might be weak and vulnerable. Stars filled the midnight sky. The smell of the lingering campfire filled the air. The stillness was only interrupted by an occasional bleat or the sound of a shepherd’s flute. The shepherds knew they’d be taking these lambs to be slaughtered soon, but they continued to care for them until they drew their final breath.
Suddenly the temporary peace was interrupted by the appearance of a heavenly angel. The shepherds shuddered in fear, because they had never been approached by such a bright, shining light. Even the hungry wolves stopped their pursuit and bowed down to the heavenly being. The sky lit up with every star in the galaxy dancing for joy. It was the Angel of the Lord, come to tell them the greatest news they would ever hear. The long-promised Messiah had finally come. The angel was joined by a choir so massive; it was impossible to count them all. Their voices blended in perfect harmony. The light was almost blinding. The shepherds fell to their knees. Just as suddenly, the angels disappeared, leaving a single bright star that continued to illuminate the sky. It was the star that would lead them to Bethlehem and the place where Jesus had been born. The ancient prophesy had been fulfilled. The shepherds would become the first missionaries to spread the good news. The Lamb of God had come and would redeem all who followed Him.
Dear, Lord and King Jesus, the world waited so long for You. You weren’t the king they expected, but the shepherds couldn’t help knowing who You were. Your birth was announced by heaven itself, as angelic voices filled the sky. Help us to lift our voices in praise and thanksgiving for this most precious of all Christmas gifts. Remind us that You are the Lamb of God who goes uncomplaining, to die for our salvation. AMEN!