Tell of His Coming: The Shepherds and Angels
Set aside 10 minutes one night this week to talk about God’s promise to send a Savior. The only materials needed are five candles, matches and a Bible.
Lighting of the Advent Candle
Have one member of the family light the candles from the first two weeks and a third candle.
Have one person read the following passages out loud.
And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” LUKE 2:8-12
Behind the angel they saw a strange glowing cloud–except it wasn’t a cloud, it was angels… troops and troops of angels, armed with light! And they were singing a beautiful song: “Glory to God! To God be Fame and Honor and all our Hoorays!” JESUS STORYBOOK BIBLE
When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. LUKE 2:15-17
Have an adult read the commentary below.
God kept His promise! The most wonderful moment in all of history had just occurred, yet no one knew about it. As Mary and Joseph held their newborn Son during those late hours of the night, God began spreading the wonderful news of Jesus’ birth. And He began with an unusual group of people.
Kings, queens and religious leaders were not the first people to hear about the birth of Jesus. Instead, God told the most unimportant of people His Good News first. Back in those days, people looked down on shepherds and even hated them. Most people considered them criminals, thieves and liars. Yet these were the first people to hear that the Rescuer had come. And the way they heard that Good News was nothing short of amazing.
While the shepherds watched their sheep in a field outside of Bethlehem, an angel appeared. The Bible tells us that the shepherds were filled with great fear. This angel that appeared to them was no baby with wings and a harp sitting on a cloud, like some stories might describe. No, this angel was a warrior of the Lord. And he shined with the glory of God. The bright radiance of heaven itself interrupted the deep darkness of the night. It was as if God peeled back the curtain of heaven and gave the shepherds a small glimpse of Himself.
The angel told the shepherds not to be afraid. God did what He had promised—He sent Jesus to rescue God’s people from their sins. God was making peace between Himself and sinners through Jesus.
Upon telling the shepherds the Good News of Jesus’ birth and how to find Him, the angel was joined by thousands of other angels who began singing about the greatness of God. That dark, quiet night sky filled with a beautiful, blinding light and roaring song that left the shepherds forever changed. Once they had heard the news, the shepherds were desperate to go and find Jesus and see the marvelous thing that God had done.
So the shepherds abandoned their sheep and raced to Bethlehem. Once they saw baby Jesus there in the manger, they left the stable and began telling everyone they saw the Good News that the Savior had come. God used this group of men—men everyone despised—to tell the world that Jesus had come. As Jesus would do throughout His life, God was coming to sinners to show them the way to salvation.
Have one family member say a prayer to thank God for sending angels to share the Good News of Jesus’ birth to sinners just like us.
As a family, sing or listen to While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks.
While shepherds watched their flocks by night, All seated on the ground,
The angel of the Lord came down,
And glory shone around.
“Fear not,” said he, for mighty dread Had seized their troubled mind, “Glad tidings of great joy I bring
To you and all mankind.”
“To you, in David’s town this day, Is born of David’s line
The Savior who is Christ the Lord, And this shall be the sign:
The heavenly Babe you there shall find To human view displayed,
All meanly wrapped in swathing bands, And in a manger laid.
Thus spake the seraph, and forthwith Appeared a shining throng
Of angels praising God and thus Addressed their joyful song:
“All glory be to God on high
And on the earth be peace,
Goodwill henceforth from heaven to men Begin and never cease.”
One night this week, go out caroling as a family. As you visit homes of neighbors, friends and family, sing songs of praise about the birth and salvation of Jesus. It might be easiest to start at the home of someone you know who loves Jesus as you do. Sing praises to God and invite them to join you at the next house.
Make sure you visit at least one home of people who do not love and trust Jesus. Just like God showed grace and love to the lowliest of sinners, share the Good News of Jesus’ birth with someone who does not know God. Maybe that person will hear the Good News and will believe in Jesus.
Content provided from the The Village Church – Advent Guide