On that first Christmas night, over two thousand years ago, rural agricultural workers received a big surprise when an angel appeared before them. Although most of us have grown comfortable with the familiar story of shepherds and angels, these men would have felt the shock, fear, awe, and disbelief that would accompany a UFO sighting today! Certainly, the angel knew how frightened they were, so reassured them with these words: “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people” (Luke 2:10).
Just like the shepherds years ago, we – and everyone in the world right now – are experiencing fear, whether about the COVID-19 pandemic, the economy, or political transitions. Amidst the fears and trials, the Lord has continued to surprise our Global Teams family with unexpected joy during this season. Here are a just a few of the gifts He has blessed us with recently:
- In a Muslim area of Kenya, a woman who had been openly hostile to the local church for years suddenly appeared at church and accepted Christ.
- Field partners Takir and Laura, heading from Kazakhstan to Russia, were abruptly stranded in Turkey. God provided them with new friends, a place to live, new ministry opportunities.
- While in the hospital recovering from hip surgery, Curtis Chanda’s father-in-law, Bob, had a heart attack and underwent heart surgery. The prognosis was not good, but the following morning the doctors were shocked by Bob’s recovery and sent him home!
May God bless you with unexpected surprises and encouragement this Christmas season. May God’s Word fill you with great joy as you read the story of Christmas as told in the Gospel of Luke!
8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
15 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.”
16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
Photo of shepherd by Mohamad Babayan on Unsplash.
Photo of stargazers by Free Photos on Pixabay.