Flocks were sleeping: shepherds keeping vigil till the morning new
Saw the glory, heard the story, tidings of a gospel true.
Thus rejoicing, free from sorrow, praises voicing, greet the morrow:
Christ the babe was born for you. Christ the babe was born for you.
Verse 2, Infant Holy, Infant Lowly
I wonder what it was like for the shepherds. Were they familiar with the Old Testament scriptures that spoke of their profession? Did they grimace at being compared to sheep, knowing it was not a compliment? Did they look forward to God's promise to tend His flock personally?
For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I myself will search for my sheep and look after them. As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness. I will bring them out from the nations and gather them from the countries, and I will bring them into their own land. I will pasture them on the mountains of Israel, in the ravines and in all the settlements in the land. I will tend them in a good pasture, and the mountain heights of Israel will be their grazing land. There they will lie down in good grazing land, and there they will feed in a rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. I myself will tend my sheep and have them lie down, declares the Sovereign Lord. I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak, but the sleek and the strong I will destroy. I will shepherd the flock with justice (Ezekiel 34:11-16).When they were greeted by the angel saying, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great of great joy that will be for all the people," (Luke 2:10) did they understand this baby was the prophesied Shepherd? They certainly received the news with joy, so whether they understood fully or not, they knew the Lord had done something wonderful. Maybe later in life, even in old age, they heard the adult Jesus' words, "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep" (John10:11). How great their joy would have been when they fully understood the significance of that beautiful night.
And just think. . . today, we have been blessed with the complete gospel story, and we have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit to transform us with this message. We have been given so much! May the tidings of a gospel true bring us joy today!
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