Can we imagine the shock of the angel’s greetings to the lowly shepherds who watched the flocks of sacrificial lambs that were kept in the fields of Bethlehem? Bethlehem was only ten miles or so from Jerusalem where a continuous supply of lambs was being required for the daily sacrifices. Such a tedious life full of non-events and except for the occasional wolf attacking the flock, nothing exciting or hopeful of things changing had ever happened for those Shepherds.
And yet, on that final night, when the centuries of waiting were over, at last, a message from Heaven! Had anyone even remembered the first promise made by God in the Garden, that He would send the “Head Crusher”? It had been 400 years of silence with not a word from God, not a prophet, not a whisper of direction from the Almighty God. The silence was deafening!
Where was their God, the One who had led them out of Egypt? The One who had inhabited the Tabernacle in the wilderness and the Great Temple of Solomon? The Jewish nation had been crushed and divided, driven into the grip of foreigners only to become reoccupied by Romans. Did God have a plan? Or had He forgotten or worse yet, given up on them: And who would have thought this could be that long awaited answer?
“And behold, an angel of the LORD stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. “And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, 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, good will toward men!”Luke 2:9-14
Peace, good will toward men! God was not mad. He had spoken! The Silence had been broken! The loss of hope and weariness are ended. God has spoken first, through Isaiah. Hear what He says. Draw your strength from the Word of God. God does not lie! He keeps all His promises.
“Arise and shine; For your light has come! And the glory of the LORD is risen upon you. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and deep darkness the people; but the LORD will arise over you, and His glory will be seen upon you.”Isaiah 60:1-2
So, when we see the deep darkness covering the people and fear is on every side we have our sign. Just like the shepherds had their sign, angels lighting up the sky and telling them they would find the Savior as a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, so we have been given a sign. In the darkest night, light and the promise of His Word return to fill our souls with joy and hope.
What we could not do for ourselves, Jesus, the Son of God is doing. He is bringing light and glory and the revelation of His resurrection life to give us courage and endurance. No longer do we have to look at the abrupt devastation of a world without truth, but on the Promises of God.
Pray for it – the revelation of the Glory of the Lord to return to your weary soul!