Imagine you’re a shepherd in first-century Israel, smelling of campfire and sweat, rough around the edges. Imagine the hem of the night sky being snapped like a sheet, making light and noise and angels spill out. Imagine those alien beings announcing a birth—the Messiah’s birth. “You will find him in Bethlehem,” they cry.
When the lightning-bright creatures vanish and your eyes readjust to the midnight black, you turn to your companions. What now? You have just received a royal invitation. You’re wrapped in layers for a night in the field, but you feel stripped bare by your glimpse of heaven, as if your sin is on view for all to see.
When you speak, your own words surprise you: “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about” (Luke 2:15). You are lowly and sinful, but God’s message of grace compels you to seek your holy Savior.
In Bethlehem, beneath a strange star, is an animal’s stall filled with straw and with warm, belching beasts. In the stall is a manger. In the manger is a baby. There is no king here; not if one goes by appearances. But despite the child’s lowliness, you see your royal Savior. The angel’s announcement has ensured that you regard this tiny bundle of life with eyes of faith.
Listen again to that heavenly invitation. Though you are sinful, seek your Savior. Though he is humble, see your Savior.