Not far from Christ’s manger, shepherds kept watch over their flock. The Good Shepherd was first a baby in a manger, surrounded by animals. Mary pondered the events of the following hours in her heart. The baby in the manger was announced years later as “the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world” The Lamb of God was slain on a cross; that Lamb is our Good Shepherd who laid down His life for the sheep.
Why two seemingly conflicting metaphors for our Savior? A lamb and a shepherd, the lamb was led to the slaughter, He didn’t make a sound, He trusted His Father. He’s the Good Shepherd because he guards the sheep; He is the door to the sheepfold.
That quiet night of shepherds watching over their sheep was suddenly interrupted by heavenly hosts praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those whom he is pleased.” (Luke 2:13-14).
“The angels sang something which men could understand – something which men ought to understand – something which will make men better if they will understand it. The angels were singing about Jesus who was born in a manger. We must look upon their song as being built upon this foundation. They sang of Christ, and the salvation which he came to work out. And what they said of this salvation was this: they said, first, that it gave glory to God; secondly, that it gave peace to man; and, thirdly, that it was a token of God’s good will towards the human race.”Charles Spurgeon, The First Christmas Carol 1
When we think about the shepherds in the Christmas story and the sheep they watched over, our minds should go to Christ, the lamb slain before the foundation of the world, and our Good Shepherd.
The Christmas story and the Easter story are one and the same. They are two parts of redemption’s narrative. The lights of Christmas should remind us of Jesus, the light of the world. The star or angel atop your tree reminds us of the night of our Savior’s birth, the star that guided shepherds and wise men, and the choirs of angels who announced his birth.
Many things point us to Jesus during this season; let us think upon them, read the story of our Savior’s birth again and again, and lift our voices like the heavenly hosts did that glorious night.
- Charles Spurgeon, Sermons About Christmas (Hendrickson Publishers, 2014) 3.