Monday Reverb – 26December2022


The theme for this week is finding ourselves in the hope of the nativity.

  • Our call to worship in Psalm 96 praises God’s righteousness, evident in the created world and our participation in it.
  • Isaiah 9:2-7, promises that the Son given to us will free us from oppression and bring endless peace.
  • In Titus 2:11-14, Paul writes of Jesus’ willingness to give himself so we might pursue goodness, kindness, and mercy.
  • Our sermon text is Luke 2:1-7,8-14,15-20, where we’ll explore how we can identify with the shepherds who were the first recipients of the good news of Jesus’s birth.

Psalm 96:1-6,11-13 · Isaiah 9:2-7 · Titus 2:11-14 · Luke 2:1-7,8-14,15-20

Speaking Of Life

  • Title: Best-Laid Plans
  • Presenter:  Michelle Fleming, media executive at GCI






The Divine Touch: The Shepherds and Us  


Luke 2:1-20 (NRSVUE)  

Let’s test your knowledge of Christmas carol trivia.  What was the first Christmas hymn authorized by the Anglican Church that was written by a poet laureate of England?  And one random clue … it has the word “shepherds” in the title.

“While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks” was written around 1700 by Nahum Tate, the poet laureate of England between 1692 and 1715.  Tate was an Irishman who moved to London to work as a poet and playwright during his 20s.  Until Tate wrote “While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks,” the Anglican Church only allowed the Psalms of David to be sung in church.  What makes Tate’s hymn different is that it isn’t based on a psalm; it’s a metrically paraphrased version of Luke 2:8-14 which is a portion of our sermon text for today.  You’ll notice that Tate managed to work in the connection with King David in the third stanza.  Let’s read the lyrics for a preview of today’s sermon scripture:

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
A Saviour, who is Christ the Lord
And this shall be the sign:

‘The heav’nly 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 on high,
Who thus addressed their song:

‘All glory be to God on high,
And to the Earth be peace;
Good will henceforth from heav’n to men
Begin and never cease!’


Our sermon text today focuses on Jesus’s birth and the angelic visitation the shepherds experienced. Let’s read Luke 2:1-20.

And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.  

Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.  

Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. 10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”  

13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:  

14 “Glory to God in the highest,  
And on earth peace, goodwill[e] toward men!”  

15 So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. 17 Now when they had seen Him, they made [f]widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. 18 And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.  

In considering this nativity story which we’ve heard countless times, let’s think about why God might have chosen shepherds to play an important role in the story of Jesus’s birth.

  • The shepherds were in the dark.  These were people who were doing their job, guarding their sheep at night, and suddenly, light was everywhere.  The contrast of dark vs. light would get their undivided attention, and the metaphor of light/dark is a common one throughout Scripture.
  • The shepherds were on the bottom rung of their socio-economic world.  They would have been the last people that anyone would have thought God would interact with, let alone share the special news about Emmanuel – God with us.  They had done nothing extraordinary to deserve this divine touch and revelation.  This is a recurring motif when God interacts with people.  It’s very often somebody who is considered a nobody in the culture.
  • Despite their low economic standing, the shepherds modeled the way God looked after God’s chosen people.  Examples in the Old Testament, such as Isaiah 40:11, Psalm 23, and Ezekiel 34:11-24, show how God looked after Israel as a good shepherd watched out for his sheep.
  • The shepherds simply obeyed the angelic command to go see the baby.  They didn’t try to dismiss what they’d seen or explain it away. They went right away, “with haste” (v. 16).
  • The shepherds told others about what they had seen.  They “made known what had been told them about this child” (v. 17). The divine touch and favor shown by God made the shepherds bold in sharing what they had witnessed.

As Luther Seminary Professor Sarah Henrich says:

Heaven and earth meet in obscure places, not in the halls of power. Shepherds and angels. A birth in the city of King David, but far from the royal residence. And that birth, that joy is for all people, just as the census was said to have been. 

With this strategic choice to tell the good news of Jesus’s birth to shepherds, God reveals the divine grace that cares not at all about class and power and position.

Revealing the birth of the Son of God first to shepherds also foreshadows the way Jesus lived his life.  Jesus chose to hang out with tax collectors (Luke 5:27-29) and did not condemn sex workers (John 8:10-11; Luke 7:38-44).  He touched and healed those considered unclean by the culture (Matthew 8:1-4).  He spoke to women and allowed them to support him and minister to him (Luke 8:1-3). Jesus said, “Let the children come to me, and do not stop them, for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs” (Matthew 19:14, NRSVUE).  Jesus lived the way of making those first who thought they should be last based on the culture they were a part of.   God’s revelation to the shepherds reminds us that God honors those who are often marginalized by the culture, and so should we.


  • The Christmas story shows us that God works through ordinary people and purposefully chooses those who might be considered “outsiders” to reveal God’s grace and favor.  Just to make it clear that God’s love and commitment to us cannot be earned, the example of the shepherds demonstrates God’s willingness to validate those often dismissed by the culture.
  • Christmas reminds us that God has entered our world and our history by taking on our flesh.  Because of this, God is a part of our lives through Emmanuel – God with us – and this is what we proclaim at Christmas by singing the Christmas songs like “While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks,” and by participating in other Christmas rituals. Because we are embodied, there is value in participating in rituals to celebrate the incarnation and embodiment of Jesus.
  • God came to us at Christmas so that we would possess courage and hope to face the difficulties of living in a world of uncertainty.  The promise of Emmanuel – God with us – means we do not navigate life’s struggles without guidance or support.  We are not alone.

By considering God’s choice to share the good news of Jesus’s birth with the shepherds, we can understand more about how the Christ child was born to be “good news of great joy for all the people,” not just those who were rich or powerful or esteemed by the culture.   Through Christ’s birth and the nativity story, God reveals God’s plans for all humanity and confirms that indeed, God is love.


For Reference:



HERE I AM TO WORSHIP … Michael W Smith





  • 1 Corinthians 15:1-5
  • Colossians 2:13
  • 1 John 2:2
  • Romans 5:8
  • Romans 5:18-21
  • John 3:16-17
  • Luke 24:46-48
  • Colossians 1:19-23
  • Acts 8:12
  • Matthew 28:19-20
  • The gospel is the good news of the kingdom of God  (Acts 8:12)
  • and salvation  (John 3:16-17)
  • by God’s grace  (Ephesians 2:8)
  • through faith in Jesus Christ  (Ephesians 2:8)
  • It is the message that Christ died for our sins  (1 Corinthians 15:1-5; 1 John 2:2; Romans 5:8)
  • and has made us his own before and apart from our believing in him  (Romans 5:8-10; Romans 5:18-21; Colossians 2:13; Colossians 1:19-23)
  • and has bound us to himself by his love in such a way that he will never let us go.  (
  • Therefore, he calls on all humans to repent and believe in him as Lord and Savior.  (






  • What is the mission of the Church?   
      • Matthew 28:19-20
  • How should the Church make disciples?
      • 2 Timothy 2:2
  • Learn what?
      • The Gospel.
  • Teach what?
      • The Gospel.
  • So, what’s the POINT ?
      • All we need to really teach is the Gospel.
      • VISION:  Leaders of Home Groups teach persons in the group well enough so that those persons can teach others.  Those others should learn the Gospel so well that they can teach it to others well enough for them to teach it to others.  


  • I’m sure there are several ways to consider/divide the Gospel.
  • One that I’ve helpful is … The five ‘P’s …
      • Purpose … Problem … Provision … Potential … Promise
      • More specifically … God’s Purpose, Man’s Problem, God’s Provision, Man’s Potential & God’s Promise


1.     So what is God’s PURPOSE ?
    • Relationship
2.     What was Man’s PROBLEM ?
    • Man’s primary problem … NOT sin, BUT separation. 
        • Isaiah 59:1-2
        • Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, 
          That it cannot save; 
          Nor His ear heavy, 
          That it cannot hear. 
          But your iniquities have separated you from your God
          And your sins have hidden His face from you, 
          So that He will not hear. 
    • Man’s secondary problem … SIN and DEATH.
        • Re: SIN …
            • Rom.3:23  All have sinned
            • Rom.6:23  The wages of sin is death
        • Re: DEATH …
            • Rom.3:20  Law-keeping cannot save anyone
3.     What was God’s PROVISION ?
    • JESUS CHRIST is God’s solution to man’s problem.
        • His PERSON … He is the Son of God, but He is also God the Son.
        • His WORK …… His DEATH and His RESURRECTION
            • By His death, He defeated sin.
            • By His resurrection, He defeated death.
                • When He died, He made it possible for us to be saved.
                • When He rose from the dead, He saved us.
            • Romans 5:8-9 Christ died for us
            • Romans 10:9   All a person needs to do is believe (trust) in Christ
            • Romans 5:10   His death >> reconciliation;  His (resurrected) life >> salvation
4.     Man’s POTENTIAL
    • RECONCILIATION.  By faith, we mean trust in Jesus Christ, alone.
5.     God’s PROMISE
    • God WITH us
    • God FOR us
    • God IN us
        • Romans 10:13  Call upon the name of the Lord and you will be saved
        • Revelation 3:20





  • Jesus Christ did all that needed to be done for you to be saved
  • Christ died for all people … so all people CAN BE saved.
  • … but He didn’t really save anyone until they believed.
  • … In order to be saved, a person must believe in what Jesus Christ did.
  • … so you can be saved by believing the Gospel.



  • Jesus Christ did all that needed to be done for you to be saved
  • Christ died for all people … so all people HAVE BEEN saved.
  • … and He saved everyone in the process.
  • … You have already been saved … You just need to believe you have been. In order to be saved, a person must believe in what Jesus Christ did.
  • … You are not saved because you believe … Your belief does not save you … Your belief just causes you to know that you have been already saved.






Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top