And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them:
I wonder if the angel tried to get the attention of anyone else? Were the shepherds the only ones who were of a mindset to listen? Will I hear inspiration and good news of the Spirit when the Spirit calls to me?
And they were sore afraid: And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
I wonder what the shepherds thought of Christ the Lord lying in a hay trough for animals? The Lord works in ways that are surely not that of man. Sometimes I wonder what blessings or inspiration I've missed because I wasn't looking in the right place. Even the greatest of blessings can come in mundane packages.
And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
It's interesting that they didn't find excuses not to go. They didn't say, "well, we have to look after the sheep so we can't go." They even made haste. They must have realized the importance of what they had been told. Did the angels appear to anyone else, but those others simply couldn't "find the time" to find Christ? Am I making time to find Christ? I do believe I must make haste to find him. I must find the time to do what is important, even if it seems like a small thing. This reminds me of one of my favorite scriptures, Alma 37:6-7 "Now ye may suppose that this is foolishness in me; but behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise. And the Lord God doth work by means to bring about his great and eternal purposes; and by very small means the Lord doth confound the wise and bringeth about the salvation of many souls." The birth of a baby boy in humble circumstances with no fanfare was indeed a "small" thing. But it had great and eternal consequences. I need to watch out for and pay attention to these small and simple things.
And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.
Missionary work! My sons are preparing themselves to do the very same thing! One of them will hopefully be doing this in two years. All of my children are growing up to be missionaries and I am grateful to have had a part of their upbringing.
And all they that heard it, wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.
Mary pondered things in her heart, the shepherds glorified and praised God (could it be said that they had gratitude for what they had been told?) Two characteristics of disciples of Christ: meditation upon the word, and returning thanks and praises to our Heavenly Father. I imagine that the shepherds told their families for years to come of the night they were attended by a heavenly messenger and given directions to go see the Messiah with their own eyes. Did they and their families get to hear the teachings of Jesus during his mortal ministry? Were they among the thousands fed miraculously with a few fish and loaves of bread? Who knows, but had I been one of the shepherds, I would have watched for the day when the baby pointed out by an angel grew up to do great things.