I’ve never seen an angel (that I know of), or heard an angel’s voice. I know the sight and sound must be wondrous though, because every time an angel appears to someone in the Bible that person usually falls down or trembles in fear. So the angel’s first words are almost always, “Fear Not!”
Think of the Christmas Shepherds! Sitting out in the countryside with their sheep. Keeping watch the scriptures say. Doing what shepherds do. Just watching, protecting their flock; sitting under the stars….and suddenly! “The angel of the Lord came upon them. And the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.” (Luke 2: 9) No, not a little troubled. Not surprised or startled. They were extremely afraid! Quaking in their sandals!
So the angel had to calm them down so that they would listen and said, “Fear Not! For, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.” Now, not only are these common shepherds struck by the appearance of a heavenly being, and the glory of the Lord shining upon them, but they are the first to hear the good news that is going to change the world forever! They are the very first to hear what the whole world will hear! “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord!”
We should remember that Bethlehem was the “Lamb Central” of Israel. Sheep had been raised there since before the time of David (a shepherd himself). These sheep were taken down the road to Jerusalem to be sold for sacrifice in the Temple. The shepherds understood well the purpose and end of the sheep they raised. Sacrifice! How appropriate that shepherds were the first to learn of the birth of the Lamb of God, who was destined to become the sacrifice for the sins of the whole world, and Who would also be known as the Good Shepherd.
As if the coming of the angel of the Lord wasn’t enough, suddenly the very sky above them split open and a multitude of heavenly beings appeared with the messenger, and these humble shepherds were regailed with the very sounds of heaven itself; a host of angels exalting the Lord, and proclaiming, “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, good will toward men.”
The story tells us that these shepherds “came with haste!” And I bet that was a sight to behold, as they raced over the hills to find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger! The long awaited Messiah! The Savior!
After they had seen Jesus, they couldn’t stop talking about it. They told everyone they saw what had happened in the field, and about the baby they found in a manger. They just couldn’t contain themselves!
Oh, that we might be like the Christmas Shepherds! Making haste to find Jesus, and then making it known abroad; telling everyone that we come across. Unable to hide what we know to be true! The Saviour is here! Peace on earth, good will to men!
Lets Pray: Father, thank you for the example you have given us in these humble shepherds. Fearful, yes, yet obedient to do all that was asked of them on that glorious night! Help us to noise the Good News abroad! May we always be quick to heed the Heavenly Voice! In Jesus’ name,
Here’s one of my favorite versions of the story….along with the Sidewalk Prophets singing “Oh What a Glorious Night.”