And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
In science fiction, alien life forms are always showing up from another world. Most often they come to destroy and dominate. In Luke chapter 2, there is a very different kind of alien invasion:
“8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. 15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. 16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. 17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. 18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.” (Luke 2:8-20)
These creatures from another world are terrifying. But they do not come to terrify, they come saying “Fear not.” They do not wage war. They wage peace.
Their announcement is good tidings of great joy to all people.
Where science fiction aliens say “Take me to your leader” these angels say the opposite: “Here, have our Leader – He’s wonderful!” What an astonishing invasion.
The King of the angels is born as a man and for man. For all men (v10). And, as if to underline the point, the announcement comes, not to the great and good, but to shepherds who lack even a roof over their heads. Here are the meek souls for whom Christ is given.
Therefore what is God’s attitude towards His world (and therefore what is His attitude towards me)? Well we have it on good authority from the heavenly host: God’s heart for His creation is, “Peace, goodwill towards men.”
And if we doubt that we ought to make the journey the shepherds make. We ought to go to Bethlehem and see the babe lying in the manger. If we’ve seen the Judge of mankind wriggling in a feeding trough, how can we ever doubt that God’s will towards us is “Peace”? If we’ve seen the lengths to which Christ the LORD has gone to be God-with-us, how could we ever deny His stunning good will towards men?
If, by faith, we see what the shepherds saw, we too will “make known abroad” the good tidings. We too will praise and glorify God.
The truth is “out there.” But the truth is not dark and disturbing. It’s glad tidings! There is life from another world, it is intelligent and very powerful. But this life is for us. In incarnation, this life has embraced us in full and wills peace and eternal joy for all mankind. Look to the manger and rejoice. God has moved heaven to earth to bring you peace. He has emptied Himself to the depths of crib and cross to give you His very Self. The deepest of all truths is good news of great joy.
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