Proclaimed By Angels
Luke 2:8-20 reads - "Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel 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, goodwill toward men!' So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, 'Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.' And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them."

The shepherds introduced here were near Bethlehem. As an angel of the Lord appeared before them, the glory of God shone brightly around them. This terrified the men. Certainly they had never experienced anything like this before. The angel informed them that there was nothing to be afraid of. Rather, there was much to rejoice over, and not merely for the Jews but for all people! This was the day that the Savior, Christ the Lord, was born in Bethlehem!

The angel then proceeded to give them a sign, even though they did not request one (cf. Luke 1:18). This baby, the Messiah or Christ, would be "wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger" (i.e., a feeding trough). This was a very explicit sign since there would not have been any other babies in Bethlehem provided for so poorly. Isn't it incredible that the Creator of the world chose to be born into such poor and humble conditions (cf. Phil. 2:5-11)?

One moment there was only one angel and the next there was "a multitude of the heavenly host" present. In other words, an army of God's angels appeared. These angels praised God for the continued unfolding of His plan for man's redemption (cf. I Pet. 1:12; Eph. 3:10). "Glory to God in the highest" (Luke 2:14). This event was too important to be announced by only one angel! The angels also expressed peace on earth toward men of goodwill.

It does not appear that the shepherds were commanded to go find the Babe, but they were undoubtedly anxious to see the One who had been expected for such a long time. "They came with haste", apparently before the night was over. They left their flocks to God's providential care, showing the strength of their faith. When they arrived, they found everything to be as the angel had spoken.

Mary and Joseph may have been humiliated by the humble surroundings, but they were comforted and cheered by the unexpected visit of these shepherds, and the news that the heavenly host was rejoicing over the birth of the Savior, their Son. The shepherds widely spread the words of the angel concerning Jesus. Those who heard this strange account from the shepherds were amazed, likely because they had not looked for the Messiah to come in such a lowly way. While others wondered in amazement about these things (and probably forget about them after a short while), "Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart" (Luke 2:19).

The shepherds then returned to their flocks. The wonderful revelation did not keep them from doing their job. They, like the angels, glorified and praised God for the things they had seen and heard.

Luke's account of the birth of Jesus shows evidence of simple, honest truth in contrast to imaginary legends. Uninspired men would have written differently about the birth of the Son of God, but God's word comes in the majesty of simple truth.