Now that we have concluded our examination of the Dangerous Distractions that can prevent us from focusing on the Design of our Deliverance, I would like to look at three important lessons that we can learn from the shepherds. The shepherds who were tending their flocks in the fields outside of Bethlehem on that first Christmas night were the first individuals to ever recognize the Design of their Deliverance and the first to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas.
Luke 2:15 reads, “When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.'”
The first thing we see about the shepherds is that they Attended Carefully. The word “attended” here means that they listened. The shepherds listened to what the angels had to say. They recognized that it was a messenger of the Lord who was speaking to them, and they listened carefully. There are far too few people today listening carefully to the message of Christmas. They think that the message is all about glad tidings and giving presents and Santa Claus and snow and fruitcake. And those things are all good and fun. (Except maybe fruitcake). But those things are not what Christmas is about. People who focus on these things miss the real meaning–they miss the true gift–because they do not attend carefully to the message of the manger.
With the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season it can be very easy to let the meaning of Christmas get drowned out by all of the noise and distraction around us. Even when we do pause to read or listen to the Christmas story from the Bible, we may even be tempted to let it go in one ear and out the other. After all, for many of us it is a story that is very familiar, and it can easily become just something else on our Christmas “to do” list. This year, let me encourage you to slow down, eliminate all distractions, and give your full attention to the wonderful message of the Christmas story. I am sure that if you will attend carefully to the message you will be blessed and encouraged by the reminder of the real Reason for this season.