8And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
13Suddenly 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.”
15When 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.”
16So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
I am a sports fan and I will admit that I can get pretty wrapped up in my teams and react in ways that don’t seem natural or appropriate for a given sports moment – the Hail Mary pass that wins the game, the fourth quarter comeback, or the game-winning grand slam that sends my team into the World Series. I know it’s just a game but I can get so wound up.
There is a word for how I feel when my team pulls out the big win – it’s called “exultation.” It’s that moment where all my pent up energy gets thrown into a big celebration as my team wins. It’s that moment when I jump up and down with my hands in the air screaming at nobody in particular about how wonderful life is at that exact moment. It is exultation and it’s what the angels are doing in verse 14.
The shepherds were out in the fields minding their own sheep when an angel shows up. I don’t know about what happens in your field but when an angel shows up in mine, it’s a time to pay attention – there’s a good chance this is going to be an extraordinary day. This angel brings the news of the birth of the Messiah and soon he’s joined by a whole host of angels to exult in the birth of Christ. They’re dancing around and raising a lot of hoopla. They’ve got their hands in the air and they’re running around screaming because God just won the game on a Hail Mary pass. Yeah, it’s that good. The shepherds closed their dropped jaws and hurried off to see the baby – wouldn’t you? It’s kind of a big deal when the Messiah shows up.
What’s your response when the Messiah shows up in your life? Is it Icky-Woods-Shuffle time? Is there a dog-pile at the pitcher’s mound? Does the crowd rush the field with hands in the air and screaming in celebration? The birth of the Messiah is worth the exultation and so is the salvation He accomplished in your life. Are you quietly moving through the Christmas season like it’s no big deal? Get your end-zone dance ready for the cameras because Christmas morning is on the way.
As you pray today, consider the magnitude of this event – the birth of your Savior. It’s a moment for exultation. What are you waiting for? Go express your joy in the birth of King Jesus. Exult in what God has done!