December 25, 2023
Merry Christmas! The North American Baptist Conference has been publishing a daily devotional series this Advent.
Today, we are spotlighting one of last week’s devotionals – A Savior for Everyone, written by Julie K. Welch, a member of Pittsford Community Church in Pittsford, NY:
The angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.” (Luke 2:10–11 NIV)
The steadfast shepherds who were keeping watch over their flocks that starry night of Jesus’s birth were among the outcasts of their time. They were separate, intentionally set apart, from the wider community. It was a lowly and lonely profession that involved the round-the-clock care and protection of animals that could not fend for themselves. Theirs was not an exciting life—until that evening outside of Bethlehem.
Suddenly, a glorious, radiant light split the darkness. An unremarkable night was marked by the appearance of an angel of the Lord accompanied by a celestial choir. Their initial fear dissolved as the angels spoke peace over the shepherds, who had received the greatest news flash of all time: “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord” (Luke 2:11). Their feet took to flight. They couldn’t wait to see this newborn in the manger, a Savior who even then was welcoming the outsider.
This Christ child, who would later refer to himself as the Good Shepherd and the Lamb of God, had a special connection with these men. Shepherds have a unique understanding of sacrifice, devotion, compassion, and humility. They were not honored or respected among their own people, something Jesus would come to know all too well. But despite this, these shepherd-evangelists were singled out to be the first to hear the “good news that will cause great joy” (Luke 2:10), and the first to share the good news. As Luke 2:17–18 relates, “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.”
It’s important to note that this good news was for all the people. That includes the castoffs, the left-behinds, the also-rans, the misunderstood, the misrepresented, the forgotten—all of us. He came for these inconspicuous sheep herders. He came for you and for me.
Other devotionals that have been published by the NAB during their 2023 Advent series are available here.