Have you ever thought about what it would have been like to be with the shepherds on the night of Jesus’ birth?
Think about the miraculous wonders they witnessed. An angel of the Lord appeared and revealed to them that the promised Messiah had come. They looked on as an entire company of angels fervently worshiped God. And finally, they traveled to Bethlehem and saw the baby Christ with their own eyes.
What would be your reaction to these experiences? Luke 2:20 tells us that the shepherds glorified and praised God for the incredible things they had seen and heard. Clearly, they were filled with great joy, just as the angel had promised.
But the angel of the Lord didn’t just promise joy to those who were present that night. No, instead it was said that the good news of the Messiah would bring great joy to all people. The apostle Peter says that that same joy the shepherds felt when told of Christ’s birth is ours when we trust in Him:
You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy. The reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls.
1 Peter 1:8-9
The gospels give us a complete picture of not only Jesus’ birth, but his ministry, miracles, death, and resurrection. Thanks to the Word of God given to us, we can see Christ just as clearly as those who were physically with him during his time on earth. Perhaps even more clearly! For unlike the shepherds the angel spoke to that night, we know how the story ends.
The birth of Jesus truly did bring glorious, inexpressible joy to the world. For all of us who love and trust him, may we repeat that sounding joy this Christmas season!