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“Wonderful, joyous news” to night-shift shepherds

December 21, 2021

Daily Scripture

Luke 2:8-11

8 Nearby shepherds were living in the fields, guarding their sheep at night. 9 The Lord’s angel stood before them, the Lord’s glory shone around them, and they were terrified.

10 The angel said, “Don’t be afraid! Look! I bring good news to you—wonderful, joyous news for all people. 11 Your savior is born today in David’s city. He is Christ the Lord.”

Daily Reflection & Prayer

The Roman Empire said the Caesar’s brutal power produced the pax Romana (Roman peace). One of the titles they gave Octavian (who gave himself the title “Augustus”—revered one) was “Savior.” When the angel told the shepherds an infant in Bethlehem was their “savior,” that was a strikingly different vision of what “Savior” meant. To all appearances, that infant couldn’t possibly be a threat to the powerful Romans occupying Palestine.

  • We’re used to the words, “He is Christ the Lord.” The shepherds (or any other Israelite) wouldn’t have dreamed those words fit a newborn baby. “Christ means anointed one in Greek, a translation of the Hebrew word Messiahthe Lord: Normally an address for God, Lord here indicates Jesus’ divine origins (see Luke 1:43, 5:17; 10:40-42).”* With no Christmas lights or ornaments anywhere, how did those stunning divine titles tell the shepherds this birth was a big deal?
  • In verses 9-10, the shepherds were terrified, and the angel told them, “Don’t be afraid! Look! I bring good news to you—wonderful, joyous news for all people.” Have you ever felt fear when you faced something unexpected or unexplainable? In what parts of your life do you need to hear, or hear anew, the wonderful, joyous news of Jesus, and take in the message “Don’t be afraid”?

The Journey: A Season of Reflections

Today’s Insights blog was chapter 22, “A Message to the Shepherds,” from The Journey: A Season of Reflections, by Adam Hamilton. Copyright © 2011 by Abingdon Press, and available on our website for 24 hours by permission of Abingdon Press. If you’d like to buy the entire book of reflections, you can click here for a direct link to the Cokesbury sale page, as well as other Journey resources.


O God, if I ever make the mistake of thinking myself above any of your other human children, remind me of the angelic messenger announcing your love to the night shift shepherds. Amen.

GPS Insights

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Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

* Richard B. Vinson, study note on Luke 2:11 in The CEB Study Bible. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2013, p. 109 NT.