If an angel suddenly appeared before you, what would be your response? Would you be excited, realizing what exactly is before you? Would you doubt what you are seeing is real? Would you challenge what is being told to you because maybe you don’t believe in the angels at all?
Many people know the basics of what the Bible says about Jesus being born. They’ve seen the nativity scenes where subdued men and animals surround a baby lying in a feed trough with his mother kneeling next to the trough. Simply told baby is born and some men come and see what is going on.
But why are they there? Who told them about this baby? Did they just happen to be standing around the farm yard working and realize there were sounds of crying so they rushed to see what happened? No. Half these guys where greeted by a massive group of angels who announced the birth. Now wouldn’t that be an amazing, albeit shocking birth announcement. You look up to see the sky filled with angels and they are talking to you, “Hey! We’ve got some good news. This baby was just born and you’ve got to go see him.” To top it off they start shouting praise for the birth.
So if you saw that, how in the world would you respond. I think I would feel a bit dumbfounded. Looking at others, I would be like, “Did you just see that? Did that really happen? Should we go find this kid?” The shepherds, well, it doesn’t really mention their exact response, but they do decide among themselves to go check things out. You can read this account in the book of Luke, chapter 2, verses 8 to 20. They were pretty stocked.
In the same book of Luke, you can read about two more account of angels delivering good news to people. The first is Zechariah, whose wife Elizabeth gave birth to Jesus’ cousin John. Zechariah questioned what was happening and ended up not being able to talk for months. The second account is with Mary. She is a bit surprised at the news that she will have a baby but comes to terms with what is happening to her and praised God for choosing her. You can read these accounts in Chapter 1 of Luke.
I really like the responses of people as the angels come to talk with people about how Jesus will be coming to earth. Who would have ever expected for God to show up in the form of a baby? Each response is very human and very different and speaks to me about different events that happen in my own life. I very much enjoy reading the book of Luke.
Oh, those other guys at the nativity scene. The rich looking wise men. You can read about them in the book of Matthew, chapter 2. They had no angels come and announce Jesus. Instead they saw a star shining in the sky and followed it until they found Jesus. That’s pretty crazy. Seeing a massive star and knowing that is leads you to an expected king. They followed it all the way to where Mary, Joseph and Jesus were living. Yep, not the feeding through. This was actually at a house – different time period than the shepherds. Jesus was a bit older by this point.
I would say check out both accounts if you haven’t. They are worth pondering and helping you understand why you see a nativity scene at Christmas and just what (or whom) made these men come to see a baby.