The troubled marriage, parents who want their child to change, good people who want a good job, middle-class families who have too much month left at the end of their money, and seniors who worry about outliving their welcome and/or suffering some debilitating disease—they all want something to change.
A couple of thousand years ago, a few people had their lives changed by a little baby born in an obscure village called Bethlehem. When they encountered that baby boy, it changed their lives in ways they could never have imagined. He can change your life, too.
Look at those who made their way to baby Jesus, and see how Jesus changes people.
The shepherds came and were changed from fear to cheer!
The shadows of the night, the threat of a beast, or the concern for thieves filled the minds of the shepherds as they struggled to stay awake through most nights, but on the night Jesus was born, things were different. Out of the darkness an angel of the Lord appeared to them and the magnificence of the Lord lit up the pasture. The King James Version of the story says, “…they were sore afraid.”
Many people are like those shepherds—afraid of God. They think He is angry at them, has a perpetually furrowed brow, a firmly set chin, and wants only to judge, condemn and punish them.
Do you think God is mad at you? Are you afraid of the glory of God? Do you wonder what will happen to you after you die?
You may be just like those shepherds who were terrified at the glory of God. And like them, you may also be unaware of the amazing news God wanted them to hear. God says to you exactly what he told the fearful shepherds: “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.”
Once the shepherds heard the calming voice of the angel and listened to what he had to say, they no longer feared the glory of God. The message amazed them; a savior was born and they were invited to go see the newborn child in Bethlehem.
Things really changed for the shepherds when they heard a choir of angles sing praises to God. They realized something good was happening; it relieved their anxiety and aroused their curiosity. They wanted to know if what the angel told them was true, so they went to Bethlehem. Sure enough, they found baby Jesus “wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.”
We don’t know how long they stayed at the manger, but we do know that “the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen.” In the quiet presence of the newborn king, the shepherd’s lives were changed from fear to cheer.
If you are afraid of God, you need to hear the voice of the angel. He is speaking to you right now. “Do not be afraid, for I bring you good news of great joy.” This Christmas, take time to pause at the manger and see the Prince of Peace, the King of Kings, the only Savior of the world. He can calm your troubled soul and bring forgiveness to your sinful heart. He can change you from fear to cheer!
- Amy Kay (Pickerell) Ross
- How a Baby Changes People – Part 2