Devotional | Shannon Powell | Dec 17, 2023

The Joy of the Coming King

The Joy of the Coming King

Read Luke 2:8-20

That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.” Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying, “Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.” When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished, but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often. The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them. Luke 2:8-14


Can you imagine the sudden shock the shepherds felt the night Jesus was born? Talk about a surprise birthday party! Let me set the stage a little more. Shepherds did not have a glamorous job. They lived lives that resembled humble poverty. They were not concerned about their 401k; they were concerned about ensuring at the end of the day, all of the animals they were taking care of were accounted for. It was a dirty, stinky job with little, if any, glam. They were not ones to interact with royalty. So just imagine their surprise when they received the greatest birthday invite the world has ever known. 

Take a moment and ponder how quiet and peaceful the night sky would have been hundreds of years ago, no airplanes, satellites, cars, no light pollution from electronic devices, just a calm, beautifully decorated starry sky, then suddenly, with a shout, angels appear bringing prophetic news. If angels appeared in front of your eyes and said, “Hey, there is a birthday party going on!” How would you feel? In the case of the shepherds, I think we can safely conclude that a possible thought to this invitation would be, “Why me? What did I do to deserve this kind of invitation?” 

This is one of the most wonderful occurrences in the Bible that really reflects what we read in the book of James: “My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism. Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, 'Here's a good seat for you,’ but say to the poor man, ‘You stand there’ or ‘Sit on the floor by my feet,’ have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?”

The passage from James reflects and reiterates the message we receive from Luke 2. The Kingdom of Christ is a counter-cultural kingdom. Where most kingdoms only invite the richest, brightest, prettiest, and smartest in the land to their parties, the kingdom of God says, “Come as you are. Come all who are weary, all who the world says, are poor, not intelligent, filthy, and the rich, bright, pretty, everyone come to the celebration.” 

What we read in Luke 2 is a reminder that God’s plan, God’s parties, are for everyone who is willing to listen and follow. The Shepherds did just that, they listened and followed the instructions of the joyous proclamation of the angels. This Christmas season, let Luke 2:8-20 be a reminder that no matter where you are in life, God wants you to join him in celebrating the best of what life has to offer: himself. Let’s also be encouraged to live as the angels did when it comes to inviting others; this is the “kingdom call” we commonly call Christianity. Let’s present the gospel with a joyful sound as the angels did, let us radiate with God’s love for others and pierce the night sky with reflecting the “Light of Life.” So, “go tell it on the mountains” this Christmas season, God has invited us to the biggest and best of parties, and everyone is invited! 


Lord, increase my faith through your Word. I pray that I will consider the shepherds when reading your Word and take it to heart that you came to earth for me. Help me remember my identity is found in you this Christmas season and bring my focus back on how innocently you came into the world. Thank you for the sacrifice you made for the rich and the poor. It's in your name I pray, Amen. 

Shannon Powell
Communications Administrative Assistant


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