Our lead pastor here at The Austin Stone Community church is Kevin Peck. He shared with us at staff meeting today, reading out of Luke 2. The shepherds in Luke 2 are in charge of the lambs, who will eventually be taken to the temple to be sacrificed for the forgiveness of sins. They spent long hours of every day walking right next to God’s plan to forgive His people. And yet, we don’t know how much that affected them. In all likelihood, it was just like any other job. They were probably bored and tired of their job. Even on good days, they just focused on getting the sheep from one place to another.
Sometimes that can be what we, as Christians, experience at Christmas. We may work hard as parents to make sure our kids understand what Christmas is really about. We try to dispel the glitz of the lights and plastic lawn elves and help them see Jesus. We may work hard as staff members to make sure our congregations receive the gift of Christ this season. We may do many things ensuring that the good news of Christmas reaches others. But the angels said to the shepherds, “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” (Luke 2:10b-11 ESV). The good news is for the shepherds. The Savior is for the shepherds. And for all the people. The good news of great joy this Christmas is for you. And for everyone else.
Just as the shepherds could spend all day next to the sacrificial lamb and never taste God’s forgiveness, we can spend all season next to the gospel. We can touch it. We can explain it. We can share it. And yet there is a chance we could never taste its goodness. The good news is for you this Christmas. Make sure you receive it.