“The shepherds went back to their Rocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them” (Luke 2:20).
We may draw many lessons from Jesus’s first encounters, although they weren’t profound conversations.
The first people who saw Jesus, following Mary and Joseph, were the shepherds.
The angels were anxiously awaiting in heaven. They couldn’t wait to tell the world the good news, and were waiting for a signal to do so. Wien no one seemed ready to receive Jesus in the city, the shepherds in the surrounding hillsides, made Him the center of conversation and prayed for Him to come. Those lone workers, used to harsh weather and the responsibility of care that had been placed on them, met the requirements to receive the news those in higher positions were not privileged to hear because of their arrogance.
There was no debate over the nature of the angels or doubts about the heavenly message. Instead of holding a skeptic meeting, they taught us through their quick, immediate walk to the manger that they knew who had talked to them and believed what they had been told.
They were given the privilege of seeing that marvelous scene in the skies and the nighttime welcome on Earth!
“Heaven and earth are no wider apart today than when shepherds listened to the angels’ song. Humanity is still as much the object of heaven’s solicitude as when common men of common occupations met angels at noonday, and talked with the heavenly messengers in the vineyards and the fields” (The Desire of Ages, ch. 4, p. 48).
The shepherds spoke directly with Jesus. Perhaps they only saw him sleeping peacefully. But the truth is that first encounter with Him marked their lives forever and was enough for them to go out and tell what they had seen without a doubt in their hearts. They praised the same God they had been praying to a few hours earlier, which they had now seen in the form of a baby.
Today you have the privilege of talking with the same God of this story, of having greater awareness of the company of celestial beings surrounding us, and of carrying out their instructions, just as the shepherds did that night by being good news ambassadors.