Luke 2:8-12 – That night some shepherds were in the fields outside the village, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly an angel appeared among them, and the landscape shone bright with the glory of the Lord. They were badly frightened, but the angel reassured them. "Don't be afraid!" he said. "I bring you the most joyous news ever announced, and it is for everyone! The Savior — yes, the Messiah, the Lord — has been born tonight in Bethlehem! How will you recognize him? You will find a baby wrapped in a blanket, lying in a manger!" (TLB)
Sometimes, things happen in our lives that we remember forever. All of us have such memories and stories, and they are often ones that we repeat to others throughout our lifetime. I expect that that was what it was like for the shepherds so long ago on the night that the Saviour was born.
At first, they were badly frightened by the appearance of the angels, but then, they received peace within when they understood who they were and from whom they had come. Then, after talking among themselves, they ran to find out if what the angels had told them was true. And it was.
Later, as they returned to their flocks, they told everyone they met what had happened to them. And somehow, I think that those shepherds kept talking about what had happened to them and whom they had seen with their own eyes, throughout their lifetime.
Likewise, each one of us has a story about how we met Jesus. For most of us, it is not about angels or seeing Him in the flesh, but it is about something within our hearts that occurred when we heard the gospel message and were moved by God's Spirit of truth to accept it for our very own: to believe it and to turn ourselves over to the forgiveness, grace, mercy, and the lordship of Jesus Christ through faith and obedience. Through this act, our lives have been changed for the better for eternity.
God has done great things for each of us, things that have been etched into our memories, just as what happened to the shepherds was engraved within theirs.
Therefore, when things happen in life that devastate us and threaten our faith to the depths of its core, we must take time to remember. We must recall whom we have believed and cling to what we knew in our hearts the very first time we placed our faith in the truth of God's Son. We must ask the Holy Spirit to bring to mind all the times and ways in which God has been our help in times of trouble and to remind us of what we know in our hearts to be true, even when circumstances around us want us to believe otherwise.
We must keep telling our story of faith, even if it is only to ourselves. For as we do so, our hearts will be strengthened to keep trusting in the One in whom we have believed, the One the angels sang about and announced to the shepherds so long ago, the One who has said, "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you." (Deuteronomy 31:6 NIV)
Prayer: Father God, thank You for the truth that has been engraved on our hearts and in our minds concerning the Lord Jesus Christ, Saviour, Messiah, and Lord. Strengthen us and encourage us to remember and cling to this truth, that we may not fear even if the world blows up and the mountains crumble into the sea, for You and You alone are in control, Lord, and You always have our best interests at heart, for which we praise You. In Christ's name, we pray. Amen.
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