Do you know how many people were at the birth of Jesus? Two. It’s really shocking if you think about it. In Luke’s account of the birth, the only one present at the birth of Jesus, besides Mary, was her husband, Joseph (see Luke 2:6,7).
Angels Heard On High
I think that’s why the very next thing Luke mentions is that a “host” of angels appeared to a group of shepherds. A “host” equals a thousand. It was like, HEY, Somebody! Anybody! You’ve gotta see this! This is truly EPIC. It can’t go unnoticed.
The heavenly host must have been in shock that the Savior could enter the world and no one paid attention.
Maybe God is trying to show us something in this. What it tells me is that we don’t always understand what God is doing. We easily get led astray by the smaller things in life and lose sight of God.
What Angels Know That We Don’t
The contrast between humans and angels is interesting. People were absent at Jesus’ birth but angels were everywhere throughout the Christmas story. Clearly, they knew something that the population at large didn’t know. The heavens were alive with excitement. In fact, there is more angelic activity surrounding the birth of Jesus than any other event in the Bible.
Read the story and you’ll find angels tell much of the story. There are four appearances of angels who come to tell people what God is about to do. It’s like God pulls back the curtain of heaven for just a few moments and we get special insight into what only God and the angels know. They are thrilled, but something got lost in translation because earth doesn’t do a great job of receiving their king. Maybe no one could fully believe what the angel’s story.
Is It Worth Missing an Encounter With God?
I wonder what people were doing that night; watching the new movies that just got released. Attending the office party. Maybe they were doing some last-minute Christmas shopping or drowning their sorrows in a bar. I don’t know. Whatever they were doing…if they had it to do over again…I bet they’d want to be with Mary and Joseph and Jesus.
The Christmas story is a great reminder of how easy it is to miss out on what God is doing. It’s so easy to get preoccupied with the drama of life and forget about God. We need an angel or a friend or a pastor to remind us of what’s important.
I like what Luke says about the impact that seeing Jesus had on the shepherds.
The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told. Luke 2:16-20
That one encounter with Jesus made their day and may have changed their lives. And that’s my prayer for you: that this reminder will cause you to turn to Jesus and that encounter might change your life.