After seeing them, they reported the message they were told about this child,  and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.

-Luke 2:17-18

Merry Christmas! I certainly hope that your Christmas celebration with your family and/or friends is a time of joy and celebration over the birth of Jesus Christ, our savior. As you give and receive gifts this year, let me encourage you to praise God for the untold value of the gift of the gospel. We rejoice because Jesus was not only born, but died for our sins and rose from the dead. By faith in him we have the forgiveness of sins and the guarantee of eternal life with God. This gift of the gospel is not only meant to be enjoyed, it’s also meant to be shared.

Back in 1521 my friend Martin Luther wrote a sermon on Luke’s Christmas narrative focusing on Luke 2:15-20. In it he highlights nine ways the shepherds responded to the Word of God by faith. In his list, the seventh way the shepherds responded by faith was by publicly proclaiming the message that had been told to them.

Luther considers how they might not have been well received,

Do you not think that there were many people who considered them fools and out of their minds because they dared, as uncouth and unschooled laypeople, to speak of the angels’ song and message?

Even though such responses were likely, the shepherds didn’t care. Luther goes on,

But the shepherds, filled with faith and joy, were happy for the sake of God to be considered foolish in the sight of humans. A Christian does the same; for God’s word must be considered foolishness and error in this world.

This line of thinking runs parallel to what we’ve been learning in 1 Corinthians this year,  For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but it is the power of God to us who are being saved (1 Cor. 1:18). God’s glory and his gospel make worldly wisdom pale in comparison.

The gospel message that fills us with joy is meant to be shared, regardless of the response of our audience. We simply don’t know in whose heart God’s Spirit has been working. Rather than keep silent out of fear of people, the shepherds shared the message because they were filled with faith and joy.

In Jesus we’ve received the greatest gift imaginable. As we respond in faith and joy, let’s be brave enough to share the reason why we have so much to celebrate.

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