Silent night, holy night
Shepherds quake at the sight
And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. (Lk. 2:9)
The shepherds were at work, caring for their flock when the angel of the Lord came upon them. It is probable that these shepherds were tending their flocks near Bethlehem during lambing season. They were prepared with swaddling cloths to wrap the newborn lambs in, protecting them from injury. Lambs that were destined to be sacrificed in nearby Jerusalem. While the lowly shepherds were doing their work, the angel of the Lord stood before them. Likewise, the lowly fishermen and tax collector were doing their work when Jesus the Lord stood before them. The shepherds heard the angel say that a Savior, who is Christ the Lord is born this day, wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger. They “came with haste.” and found Mary, and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger” (Lk. 2:16). They made known abroad that “Christ the Savior is born” (v. 17). Like the shepherds, the disciples heard Jesus say “Come, follow Me.” Immediately they left what they were doing to follow Jesus. They made known throughout the world what they had seen and heard.
The shepherds saw the Passover Lamb, Jesus, swaddled in a manger. They understood swaddling cloths. Jesus told Peter and James that He would make them “fishers of men.” They understood “fishing.” Our Savior speaks to us in ways we understand. We hear Him in the voice of our godly teachers. We see Him in the face of a loved one. We understand His love because we love. We understand our soul’s hunger for spiritual food because our body knows hunger for physical food. We hear His Word when we take time to be still and let it permeate our hearts, our minds, our lives. We hear it at church, we digest it in quiet times spent with Him, and we see it in the life of those who love Jesus. The shepherds heard the angels proclaiming Jesus’ birth, the disciples heard Jesus’ message firsthand. The shepherds and the disciples made known what they had experienced. They saw. They heard. They went. Their lives were changed. Forever. The shepherds proclaimed. The disciples preached. The Word spread. To you. To me.
Have you seen? Have you heard? Have you gone? The shepherds went “with haste”. The disciples went without hesitation. Are you are seeing and hearing God’s Word? Are you going? Beware of only seeing and hearing God’s Word, but not going and doing His Word. May this night be for you as it was the night Jesus was born, “Silent night, holy night shepherds quake at the sight.”