And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and 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 among those with whom he is pleased!”
When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
“…they were filled with fear. …” an event outside their normal everyday experience produces fear. …“Fear not,”… a saying told to Zechariah, Mary and now these. When we face unusual situations we are not to allow fear to rule. “…peace among those with whom he is pleased!…” This passage begins with a fearful event ends with a blessing of peace, a peace that is qualified by a standard, “among those with whom he is pleased.” We can take note of this and apply it to our everyday life. When events come our way that have the initial response of causing fear we can hear the Word of God saying “Fear not.” We can speak that to the fear and expect it to leave for we strive to be among those with whom He is pleased, and we can have His peace within the stressful situation.
The shepherds shared the message received, the experience. Mary listened, received, hid in her heart and pondered/reflected. We can follow the pattern we see here. We can read God’s Word, listen to His voice, receive the message, hide it in our heart, put it to memory, and ponder/reflect upon what we have received. Just as the message impacted the shepherds and all they told, we can share what we receive and the Word of God will continue to impact others. We can put into action 2 Chronicles 7:14 -“if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land,” and remove fear from the present day events, receive the promise in the scripture, His peace, reflect upon it and share it with others. Our prayers will impact our world.