The Glorious Birth Announcement (from 31 Days of Encouragement – Laura)

“TODAY IN THE TOWN OF DAVID A SAVIOR HAS BEEN BORN TO YOU; HE IS CHRIST THE LORD.” Luke 2:11

The Shepherds were the first to receive this glorious birth announcement. These common men were watching over their flocks, scripture says, “…and an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them” (Luke 2:9). They were terrified at the appearance of the angel, but he reassured them. “Don’t be afraid! I bring you good news of great joy for everyone! The Savior – yes, the Messiah, the Lord – has been born tonight in Bethlehem, the city of David” (Luke 2:11). What a birth announcement! God has come to earth. The Messiah is finally here. Then he tells them what the sign will be and how they will recognize Him. “You will find a baby lying in a manger, wrapped snugly in strips of cloth” (Luke 2:12). The invisible hand of God left a visible print in the form of a baby.

Beth Moore describes baby Jesus like this: “God clothed in seven pounds of peeling, pink infant flesh. Perfection wrapped in innocence.”

Jesus left the riches of His heavenly home to be born into a meager earthly home. He limited Himself by putting on flesh when He was accustomed to using His supernatural power. He humbled Himself to the position of a slave and did not cling to His rights as God. He would obediently sacrifice Himself by dying a criminal’s death on a cross.

After this announcement, the angel was joined by a vast host of others – the armies of heaven – praising God:                  “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to all whom God favors” (Luke 2:14).

The angels returned to Heaven. The shepherds ran to the village and found Mary, Joseph and the baby. The shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. All who heard the shepherd’s story were astonished, BUT MARY quietly treasured these things in her heart and thought about them or pondered them often. “The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told” (Luke 2:20).

There are different responses to the birth of Christ. All who heard the shepherd’s story were astonished, amazed and wondered at what they had heard. They didn’t understand. “But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart” (Luke 2:19). I’ve always loved that verse. There’s such faith and confidence in Mary’s response. The word pondered describes taking many things, putting them together and considering them as one. As this new mother held her precious child, she let her mind go back over the events of the past year. Gabriel’s announcement, her visit to Elizabeth’s, the rumors, Joseph’s reaction, the difficult journey to Bethlehem, the first pains of labor, the joy of giving birth, each experience making up the whole. God’s faithfulness was evident as she looked back over her life causing her to understand and respond with a quiet, trusting heart.

“The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told” (Luke 2:20). God is always faithful! He does exactly what He says He will do. The shepherds experienced this truth. They responded by glorifying and praising God.

How would you have responded to the birth announcement? What is your response to Jesus today? Are you filled with a confident faith in God? Think back over your life and the events God has woven together to bring you to this point in your spiritual journey. To appreciate God’s work in our lives through pleasure and pain, we need His perspective to understand that He looks at each experience as part of the whole. Meditate on your life experiences, treasuring and pondering them in your heart like Mary. Then go out to live a life of worship bringing glory to God with the humble heart of a shepherd.

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