1Peter 3:15 - "In your hearts, honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect."
Advent is about the hopeful wait on the coming of Christ to be born. Initially, that first glimpse of hope was given to shepherds in Luke 2. The angel says to the shepherds, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:10-12)
Those shepherds are given HOPE! They immediately go to Bethlehem and see what the Lord had told them about. When they see baby Jesus though, they don’t keep the hope to themselves. Luke 2:17-18 says, “When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.” God used shepherds, who were often seen as one of the bottom rungs in society, to share the hope and good news of Christ’s birth.
Christ was born among shepherds, and then became the ultimate Shepard. Jesus is spoken of as the Good Shepherd (John 10:14); Chief Shepherd (1 Peter 5:4); Great Shepherd (Hebrews 13:20); the One Shepherd (John 10:16). "He will feed his flock like a shepherd, He will gather the lambs in His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and will gently lead those that have their young" (Isaiah 40:11)
As we celebrate this season, lighting candles and trees, singing carols, and sharing presents, I encourage all of us to open our hearts to see how Jesus Christ is present in our lives and in our world, right where we need Him most. He gives us hope through His birth and promise to return. I pray that we can all, just as the shepherds did, joyfully live with that hope today.