16So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. 17When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; 18and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. 19But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. 20The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
I want to linger a moment on this story – the shepherds heard the angel, and amazed and frightened as they were, they had to go and see for themselves! They had to go and worship this amazing newborn child – one so amazing that angels had heralded his birth!
And when they had seen him – when they had found the babe wrapped in “swaddling clothes” as the King James phrases it, and lying in a manger, they had to tell the world. All the people they met in Bethlehem and on their way home, and probably for many years after, heard the story of how they met the Savior as a new-born, not in a palace, but in a stable. Having met the Savior, they had to tell the story. That is true for us as well – when we have met the Savior, we need to tell the story! We need to tell what a difference HE has made in our lives. Did some of the people they met think the shepherds had been too long alone on the dark hillsides, until they lost their sanity and saw angels? Likely there were some who thought as much, some who ignored their story, but I suspect there were also some who wondered – or as Luke says, “All who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them.” We cannot meet the Lord and not tell the story! And when those who have heard it are amazed, they too will seek him.
And the shepherds returned to their hillsides, glorifying and praising God! Do we glorify and praise God, even as we return to our Monday through Saturday lives? Praising God is not just for our once-in-a-lifetime experiences, finding the babe in the manger, but is for all our lives!
The photo is a manger, made of stone, in a cave where angels would have been kept deep in the excavated ruins of a monastery at the Shepherd’s Field.