When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.
In today’s reading, the heavenly host returns to its heavenly abode, and the shepherds are left to decide what to do with the good news that has just been delivered in such wildly improbable fashion. They could have laughed the whole thing off as a kind of mass hallucination, or been so struck with fear that they couldn’t even stand let alone walk into Bethlehem, but they believe that God has spoken to them, and they resolve to see for themselves what they have heard.
And so they find the promised child lying in a manger, and while we are told little about their encounter with the new family, we are told that they immediately set out to spread the word concerning all they have seen and heard.
In that moment they take on the role of the angels, messengers of God declaring the birth of a saviour, just as it had been declared to them.
What have you seen and heard of that child lying in a manger? How might you take on the role of the angels this Christmas? Who needs to hear this Good News?
Like the shepherds who were first at the manger, may we hear the good news and seek it out. May we become messengers of God, declaring that the one who saves has come amongst us. And may all who hear us be amazed, that they may become seekers and messengers in their turn.