Advent Devotional: Week Two - Thursday
Scripture Reading: Luke 2:8-20
And in the same region there were shepherds out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
To show how significant the birth of Jesus is, we are given a glimpse of the angelic host only rivaled by the visions of John in the book of Revelation. Jesus’ birth is a cataclysmic in-breaking of God’s kingdom into the earthly realm. This is a visual picture of the Lord’s prayer, “Thy Kingdom come”. We can almost imagine how shocked the shepherds must have been as the glory of the Lord shone around them!
God spares no expense at the announcement of Jesus’ birth. He enlists not just a heavenly quartet, or a single shimmering soloist, but the whole heavenly throng, singing together as a big, heavenly gospel choir, rocking the foundations of humanity. The angels’ message is simple and straightforward and not in the least bit clouded in celestial language or heavenly rhetoric. “Good News! The Savior is born!” with a chorus of “Glory to God” and “Peace on Earth”.
Talk about what the angels said and why those were the words they used to announce Jesus’ birth.
Prayer: Almighty God, when we find our hearts distracted in the busy-ness of this Christmas season, enamor us with the glory and joy of your presence. Let us understand why the birth of Jesus was “good news of great joy.”
Advent Singing: Angels We Have Heard on High
Angels we have heard on high, sweetly singing o’er the plains and the mountains in reply, echoing their joyous strains.
Refrain: Gloria in excelsis Deo. Gloria in excelsis Deo.
Shepherds, why this jubilee? Why your joyous strains prolong? What the gladsome tidings be which inspire your heavenly song?
Come to Bethlehem and see him whose birth the angels sing; come, adore on bended knee Christ the Lord, the new-born King.