We all know the REAL Christmas story, as it is recorded in the Scriptures. Forget this “Happy Holiday” thing—”MERRY CHRISTMAS” – but that is a whole different newsletter article.
In this newsletter space I wanted to take a look back at those shepherds who received the announcement about the promised Messiah. Luke 2:8 reads, “In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night”. There are so many things we can learn from each of the characters in the nativity scene. Let me share a few we can learn from these shepherds.
First thing we learn is right out of Luke 2:8. The Shepherds stayed with their flocks! Simple lesson, but it also teaches us a little about the sheep. The sheep NEED the shepherds! The sheep needed guidance. And the sheep needed to be fed. As I think about the shepherds here at South Side (our elders, overseers or pastors), I am reminded how much we need their wisdom within the assembly.
A second lesson we can learn comes out of that same eighth verse. Luke records that the shepherds were out there even at night. They watched their flocks by night to protect the flock. Wild animals and thieves could break in and try to steal the sheep. But not these Christmas shepherds—they stayed with their flock even at night. Again, reflect on the eldership here at South Side. One of their roles as the pastors of the flock are to protect us from any false doctrine or false teachers who might enter the flock and try to steal the sheep.
Luke 2:9 gives us the next lesson I would like to bring out. As the angels appeared to them, the text says that the shepherds were “terribly frightened”. I hope I am not stretching this, but let me suggest that these Christmas shepherds were humble shepherds. We have the greatest example of a humble shepherd when we look to the Good Shepherd—Jesus—who laid down His life for His sheep. All one has to do is read Philippians 2 to read about the great humility of Jesus! James 4:10 reads, “Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you”. Humility is truly a quality of the shepherds here at South Side.
For the fourth lesson, we need to drop down to Luke 2:15 after the angels had left. The shepherds said among themselves, “Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us”. These Christmas shepherds did not trust their personal experience—they wanted to see for themselves! Same way “doubting” Thomas wanted to see for himself the resurrected Christ—I personally am glad he “doubted” – I want my faith to rest on the eyewitness testimony! Our shepherds are firmly planted on the eyewitness testimony of the Bible!
The fifth lesson, is that the shepherds told others about what they had seen. Luke 2:17 says that the shepherds “made known the statement which had been told them about this Child”. What a great example for our shepherds, and each one of us! Each one of us, our pastors included, are commissioned by Christ to go and share the message! May we at South Side learn from the Christmas shepherds to present the Gospel!
The final lesson (and I am running out of space) comes from Luke 2:20 which says, “The shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen”. Shepherds spend time glorifying and praising God! In caring for the flock, the shepherds become examples to the sheep for worshiping and praising our God.
In conclusion—I am thankful for our shepherds—all six of them! Len, Lawrence, Larry, Denny, Myreon and Dick are all to be commended on their shepherding the flock here at South Side! I know they won’t mind me saying that I am thankful for someone else even more. I am most thankful for the Chief Pastor (or Shepherd) because when He returns, I will “receive the unfading crown of glory”. (I Peter 5:4).