Luke 2:8

It is surely not without significance that this most gracious manifestation and announcement was made to these humble Hebrew shepherds "keeping watch over their flock by night." It suggests two truths which are of frequent and perpetual illustration.

1. That God chooses for his instruments the humble rather than the high. Our human notions would have pointed to the most illustrious in the ]and for such a communication as this. But God chose the lowly shepherd, the man of no account in the estimate of the world. So did he act in the beginning of the gospel (see 1 Corinthians 1:26-29). And so has he acted ever since, choosing often for the agents of his power and grace those whom man would have passed by as unworthy of his choice.

2. That God grants his Divine favor to those who are conscientiously serving him in their own proper sphere. Not to the idle dreamer, not to the man who will do nothing because he cannot do everything of which he thinks himself capable, but to him who does his best in the position in which God's providence has placed him, will God come in gracious manifestation; and it is he whom he will select to render important service in his cause. But the main thoughts of this passage are these -

I. WELCOME TIDINGS FROM THE SPIRITUAL WORLD. "They were sore afraid." "Fear not... I bring you good tidings." Why have men always been so sore afraid in the presence of the supernatural? Why have they feared to receive communications from heaven? Something much more than a popular belief (see Judges 13:22)is required to account for so universal a sentiment. It is surely that sinful men are profoundly conscious of ill desert, and fear that any message that comes from God, the Holy One, will be a message of condemnation and punishment. What would be the expectation with which a camp of rebellious subjects, who had taken up arms against their sovereign, would receive a messenger from the court of the king? Had that guilty age known that God was about to announce "a new departure" in his government of the world, what ample, what overwhelming reason would it have had to apprehend a message of Divine wrath and retribution! How welcome, then, the words, "Fear not... I bring you good tidings"! Of what depth of Divine patience, of what boundless breadths of Divine compassion, do these simple words assure us!

II. TIDINGS OF SURPASSING VALUE. Tidings "of great joy." The birth of the Babe in Bethlehem "that day" - what did it mean? It meant:

1. Deliverance from a deadly evil. To these shepherds, if they were patriotic children of Abraham, the promise of a Savior would mean deliverance from the national degradation into which Israel had sunk - a spiritual as well as a political demoralization. To them, if they were earnest religious inquirers, it meant deliverance from the bondage and penalty of sin. This is the significance which the word has to us: in that day was born into the world a Savior, a Divine Redeemer, One who should save the souls of men from that which is the one curse of our humanity - sin.

2. The fulfillment of a great hope. To those who then learnt that "the Christ" was born, it meant that the long-cherished hope of their nation was fulfilled, and that whatever the Messiah was to bring about was at length to be accomplished. A great national expectation has passed, with us, into a glorious hope for the human race - the hope that under Christ this poor sin-stricken world will rise from its ignorance, its superstition, its godlessness, its vice, and its crime, and walk in newness of life, in the love and the likeness of its heavenly Father.

3. Restoration to our true position. That Savior is "Christ the Lord." We who have sought to rule ourselves and to be the masters of our own lives, and who have suffered so much in so many ways by this guilty dethronement and usurpation, are now to find our true rest and joy by submitting ourselves to him who is "the Lord" of all hearts and lives; in his service is abiding peace and "great joy."

III. TIDINGS OF GENERAL AND OF PARTICULAR APPLICATION. These glad tidings are for "all the people," and they were for those startled and wondering shepherds. "To you is born." As we hear the angel's words, we know that they are for all the wide world, and, whoever we may be, for us. - C.

In the same country shepherds.
(with Matthew 2:1.-12).


1. A prophecy that, as in His cradle the Lord Jesus received "in a figure" the homage of the entire world, so at last, in happy, glorious fact, He will receive the adoration of all kindreds and tribes, drawing all men unto Himself by virtue of His cross.

2. A consolation, viz., that even the poorest, the simplest, the least gifted and accomplished, find a welcome from Him, and may Lake rank among the very first in His kingdom.

3. A lesson — that whatever may be the distinctions which obtain among us elsewhere, we are all one in the service of Christ, and should use our several gifts for each other's good, — the shepherd singing his song to the sage, and the sage telling the story of his star to the wondering shepherd.

II. WE MAY LEARN FROM THE STORY THAT IT IS NOT SO MUCH IN THE NUMBER AND MAGNITUDE OF OUR GIFTS, AS IN THE USE WE MAKE OF THEM, THAT OUR TRUE WELFARE AND HAPPINESS CONSIST. The shepherds, ignorant men, condemned to a life of hard toil and scanty fare, tied and bound by the claims of their craft, with few opportunities for joining in the public worship of the Temple, or for listening to the instructions of the Rabbis. Yet, at the bidding of the angel, they leave their flocks, and hasten to Bethlehem to verify the good tidings. The wise men from the East had, in some sort, even fewer advantages and aids than the shepherds. No direct message from heaven was vouchsafed to them. They see a new sign in the sky. They believe that it foretells the advent of some great one upon the earth. How hard it must have been for them to leave the luxuries and honours, and, above all, the scientific pursuits of the Persian palace, in order to encounter the toils and perks of a long and hazardous journey, on the mere chance of finding their conclusion verified! What a noble faith in their scientific inductions, or in the inward leading of God, is implied in their encountering so great a risk or so slight a chance of being bettered by it!

III. If it be true that our place in Christ's service and regard depends on our fidelity in using our gifts rather than on the abundance of our gifts, IT IS ALSO TRUE THAT THE ONLY GENUINE FIDELITY IS THAT WHICH LEADS US FORWARD AND UPWARD. The sages and the shepherds were men who looked before as well as after, men who knew little and were aware of it, or men who knew much and yet accounted that much but little compared with what God had to teach. Let us be followers of them, ever looking for more truth while we walk by the truth we know. And, walking in the light we have, it will grow larger and purer; using the gifts we possess, more will be added unto us.

(S. Cox, D. D.)

1. The time, the place, the tidings, the listeners, are all in unison. The shepherds were on historic ground. On those same slopes, on those same hill-sides, David of old had fed his father's flocks, and it was from those same fields that he went forth at God's command to exchange his shepherd's crook for the royal sceptre, and his lowly dress for the purple of a king. It was on these fields, rich with precious memories, that the shepherds lay. It was night, and the sky was cloudless. Hill and dale slept under the beauty of the clear moon, and the quiet flocks were gathered to the shelter of the fold. To such a scene came the first tidings of the world's peace. Not to man's busy haunts, where even in the hush of night the cry of sorrow is heard, and the trouble in man's heart goes on, but to those peaceful folds, sleeping in the bosom of the voiceless hills. The home of peace is not in the world's great centres, but among the shaggy woods and grassy vales and solemn hills. And when the angels came with their messages of peace to earth they came to such a scene as that. They did not choose the Temple in Jerusalem, and from its lofty pinnacle flash their glory on a slumbering city — that would have been at variance with the character of their message, and discordant with the unostentatious spirit of their King.

2. And that humble shepherds were the first to receive the glad tidings is as instructive as it is strange. The event itself was unparalleled, and the simple announcement of it was destined, like a stone cast into the still lake, to extend its influence in ever-widening circles; yet it was to men lowly and obscure, without worldly place or power of any kind, that the first proclamation was made. In the world's view it would have been deemed an utter waste to brighten the sky with angels, and pour down from the steeps of glory cataracts of tumultuous song, for a few poor shepherds. But no consideration speaks more real comfort to our hearts than this. It shows us plainly that there is no respect of persons with God; that in His eye the loftiest and the lowliest are as one.

3. But not only was the message of the angels given to shepherds, it was given to them while they were pursuing their work. Idle men do not receive visions. It is not in the working up of spiritual ecstasy, but in the sober and honest discharge of life's duties, that we are most likely to find God and be found of Him.

4. The shepherds were "sore afraid." But their fear soon gave place to action. When the angels had gone away, they said one to another, "Let us now go even unto Bethlehem and see" — not if the thing is come to pass, but — "this thing which is come to pass." They did not arise and go because they doubted, but because they believed. Ah! it was a grand journey of faith — this of the shepherds from the sheep-folds to the manger, worthy to be inserted in the eleventh of Hebrews. What is our attitude towards the Divine announcements?

5. Having seen the Infant Saviour, they immediately made known their story, first to Mary, who kept all these things and pondered them in her heart, and then to the busy crowd of travellers bustling about the inn. No sooner had they found Christ for themselves, than they made it known abroad that they had found Him.

6. But we do not part company with them here. We are told in the twentieth verse that they "returned" — returned to their ordinary work, to their flocks and folds, to those vales and hills from which they had come, now for ever bright to them with something of the angels' glory, and there, in their own quiet life, they "fought the good fight, and kept the faith." God does not call every man to be an apostle. He wants preachers in private as well as in public. He wants the glad tidings to be told in sheep-folds, and in markets, and in shops, as much as in places set apart for the proclamation. And if for you the world has been transfigured, and common things have received the impress of heaven by the vision of God's salvation, then in the place where your daily lot is cast, in the sphere of your common duties and labours, stand forth a witness for righteousness and for God, preach the gospel of peace and salvation to the sin-stricken, sorrow-laden men and women all around you.

(H. Wonnacott.)

He is a type of what gospel-preaching should be.

1. His message is good news. The gospel not a threat nor a law, but news of salvation.

2. To all the people — not merely to an elect few. To all classes — not merely to the intelligent and refined.

3. The cause of this joy proclaimed is the advent of Christ, i.e., the Messiah, the Anointed One, the great High Priest who makes atonement for the past sins of His people; a Saviour because He saves His people from their sins themselves.

4. The attestation of His Divinity (ver. 12). The evidence of His Divinity is His love — the fact that He is placed under all the limitations of humanity (see Philippians 2:5-8).

5. Notice also the first approach of the Divine message always produces fear in the heart (ver. 9), and the message of the gospel to the affrighted heart is ever the same, "Fear not."

6. The convert becomes at once a preacher to others (ver. 17).

7. The shepherds publish. Mary ponders. Both the active and the meditative temperament have a place in the Church of Christ.

(Lyman Abbott, D. D.)

The shepherds were chosen on account of their obscurity and lowliness to be the first to hear of the Lord's nativity, a secret which none of the princes of this world knew. And what a contrast is presented to us when we take into the account who were the messengers to them. The angels who excel in strength, these did God's bidding towards the shepherds. Here the highest and lowest of God's rational creatures are brought together. The angel honoured a humble lot by his very appearing to the shepherds; next he taught it to be joyful by his message.

(J. H. Newman.)

The wise woman of Medina went long pilgrimages to find the Lord, but in vain; and, despairing, she returned to her daily duties, and when there engaged she found the Lord she had elsewhere sought in vain.

(See Trench's Poems.)

Moses received his credentials as the legate of the Almighty and the lawgiver of a new nation while keeping the flocks of Jethro. Gideon threshed wheat by the wine-press when the angel brought him his commission, and the enemies of Israel fled before "the sword of the Lord and of Gideon." Saul going to seek his father's asses found a kingdom for himself; and Samuel waited to anoint David while they fetched him. from "those few sheep in the wilderness." Elisha was ploughing when "Elijah passed by" and cast the mantle of prophecy upon him, and Amos among the herdmen of Tekoa saw God's judgments upon Philistia and Tyre. It was while Zacharias "executed the priest's office before God in the order of his course" that the angel Gabriel brought him "joy and gladness," and all mankind the earnest of a new and glorious dispensation — and the first mortals that ever heard "the sons of God shouting for joy" were a band of shepherds watching their flocks on the Judean hills.

(Amelia S. Barr.)

Learn in the first place from this that a scene that may open in darkness and fright may end in the greatest prosperity and advantage. These shepherds were alarmed and startled; but how soon their consternation ended in exultation and jubilee. Those shepherds may in their time have had many a fierce combat with wolves, and seen many strange appearances of eclipse, or aurora, or star-shooting. But those shepherds never saw so exciting a night as that night when the angel came. And so it often is that a scene of trouble and darkness ends in angelic tones of mercy and of blessing. That commercial disaster that you thought would ruin you for ever, made for you a fortune. Jacob's loss of Joseph opened for him the granaries of Egypt for his famine-struck family. Saul, by being unhorsed, becomes the trumpet-tongued apostle to the Gentiles. The ship splitting in the breakers of Melita sends up with every fragment on which the two hundred and seventy-six passengers escape to the beach the annunciation that God will deliver His ambassadors. The British tax on tea was the first chapter in the Declaration of American Independence. Famine in Ireland roused that nation to the culture of other kinds of product. Out of pestilence and plague the hand of medical science produced miracles of healing. It was through bereavement you were led to Christ. The Hebrew children cast into the furnace were only closeted with the Son of God walking beside them, the flames only lighting up the splendour of His countenance. And at midnight, while you were watching your flocks of cares, and sorrows, and disappointments, the angel of God's deliverance flashed upon your soul, crying, "Fear not. Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people." If I should go through this audience to-day, I would find that it was through great dark-hess that you came to light, through defeat that you came to victory, through falling down that you rose up, and that your greatest misfortunes, and trials, and disasters have been your grandest illumination.

(Dr. Talmage.)

Hunters and warriors make a great figure in the world; but he that feeds the sheep is more honourably employed than he who pursues the lion. The attendance of man upon these innocent creatures, which God hath ordained for his use, is an employment which succeeded to the life of Paradise. The holy patriarchs and servants of God were taught to prefer the occupation of shepherds. Their riches consisted in flocks and herds; and it was their pleasure, as well as their labour, to wait upon them in tents, amidst the various and beautiful scenery of the mountains, the groves, the fields, and streams of water O happy state of health, innocence, plenty and pleasure — plenty without luxury, and pleasure without corruption! How far preferable to that artificial state of life; into which we have been brought by over-strained refinement in civilization, and commerce too much extended; when corruption of manners, unnatural, and consequently unhealthy, modes of living, perplexity of law, consumption of property, and other kindred evils, conspire to render life so vain and unsatisfactory, that many throw it away in despair, as not worth having. A false glare of tinselled happiness is found amongst the rich and great, with such distressing want and misery amongst the poor, as nature knows nothing of, and which can arise only from the false principles and selfish views and expedients of a weak and degenerate policy.

(Wm. Jones.)Several of the most gracious Divine manifestations, and most interesting discoveries, concerning the Messiah, were made under the Old Testament, to men who followed this occupation, as, e.g., to Abraham, Moses, David. In like manner, a singular honour was now preparing for the shepherds of Bethlehem, who, from the reception they gave the heavenly message, and the part they afterwards acted, appear to have been believing and holy men, whom Divine grace had taught and prepared to welcome a coming Saviour.

(James Foote, M. A.)

It is only in the cool months that sheep feed through the day. In the greater part of the year they are led out to pasture only towards sunset, returning home in the morning, or if they be led out in the morning they lie during the hot hours in the shade of some tree or rock, or in the rude shelter of bushes prepared for them (Song of Solomon 1:7). They are taken into the warmth of caves or under other cover during the coldest part of winter; the lambs are born between January and the beginning of March, and need to be kept with the ewes in the field, that the mothers may get nutriment enough to support the poor weak creatures, which cannot be taken to and from the pasturage, but must remain on it. That many of them die is inevitable, in spite of the shepherd's utmost care, for snow and frost on the uplands, and heavy rain on the plains, are very fatal to them. Nor is their guardian less to be pitied. He cannot leave them day or night, and often has no shelter. At times, when on his weary watch, he may be able to gather branches enough to make a comparatively dry spot on which to stand in the wild weather, but this is not always the case. I have heard of the skin peeling completely from a poor man's feet from continued exposure. By night, as we have seen, he has often, in outlying places, to sleep on whatever brush he may gather; his sheepskin coat, or an old rug or coverlet, his only protection Perhaps it fared thus with the shepherds of Bethlehem, eighteen hundred years ago, when they were "abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night."

(C. Geikie, D. D.)

Sunday School Times.
The business of these shepherds that night was staying out of doors to watch their sheep. It was while they were attending to their business that they had a visit from the angels. If they had been at home, or out at a party, or even in a prayer-meeting, when they ought to have been in that sheep-field on the Bethlehem hillside, they would have missed a sight of the angel of the Lord. If they had been playing on harps at a sacred concert, or ornamenting pottery for a synagogue fair, or even carrying an offering up to the temple at Jerusalem, when sheep-watching was their duty, they would not have heard that song of the angels, or seen the glory of the Lord round about them, or received first of all the good tidings for a lost race. The best place in all the world to be is at the post of duty. Nowhere else can such blessings, temporal or spiritual, be fairly looked for. If the Lord has a good gift or a glad message to one of His children, He sends it to the place where the child ought to be found. If the child is not there, he fails of getting what he might have had to rejoice over. Day or not — night and day, be where you belong. If your duty calls you to stay at home, stay there, and never suppose that you can have a bigger blessing anywhere else. If your duty calls you to be on a steamer, or a railway car, out in the streets or the fields, at a party or a prayer-meeting, in a store or a factory, at a concert or a church-service, in the home of a friend to give counsel or cheer, or in a dwelling of poverty to administer relief, be there, at whatever cost or risk is demanded, and understand that it is safest and best for you to be there only.

(Sunday School Times.)

The news of Christ's birth is a message for an angel to deliver, and it had been news for the best prince on earth to receive. Yet it fell not out amiss that they to whom it first came were shepherds; the news fitted them well. It well agreed to tell shepherds of the yearning of a strange Lamb, such a Lamb as should "take away the sins of the world;" such a Lamb as they might "send to the Ruler of the world for a present" — Isaiah's Lamb. Or, if ye will, to tell shepherds of the birth of a Shepherd. Ezekiel's Shepherd: "Behold, I will raise you a Shepherd," "the Chief Shepherd" (1 Peter 5:4); "the Great Shepherd" (Hebrews 13:20); "the Good Shepherd. that gave His life for His flock" (John 10:11). And so it was not unfit news for the persons to whom it came.

(Bp. Lancelot Andrewes.)

Who the angel was, we are not told. Quite probably it was the same angel who had already made annunciation to Zacharias in the temple, to Mary at Nazareth, to Joseph in his slumber — even the same Gabriel, Strength of God, who, five centuries before, had made annunciation to the exile by the Ulai. The glory of the Lord which shone round about these shepherds was doubtless that same miraculous effulgence in which Deity had been wont in the earlier ages to enshrine Himself, and which the rabbins called the Shechinah. Diversified as well as extraordinary were the appearances of that Shechinah in ancient days. It had gleamed as a flaming sword, turning every way, to keep the way of the tree of life; it had flickered as a lambent flame in the brier-bush of Horeb; it had hung as a stupendous canopy over the mountain of the law; it had hovered as a glittering cloud above the cherubim overshadowing the mercy-seat; it had marshalled the hosts of Israel for forty years, towering like a pillar of cloud by day and like a pillar of fire by night; it had filled the temple of Solomon, flooding it with a brightness so intense that the priests could not enter to minister; it was to be the radiant cloud which should enfold out of sight the ascending Lord; it will be the great white throne on which that ascended Lord will descend when He returns in the pomp of His second advent. But never had it served a purpose so august and blissful as on this most memorable of nights when, after centuries of eclipse, it suddenly reappeared and shone around the astonished shepherds. Well might the effulgent cloud now return, as though in glad homage to the Incarnation; for on this night is born He who is to be His own Church's true pillar of fire-cloud, to marshal her through sea and wilderness into the true promised land. Oh, since the day was as the night when Jesus Christ died, let us be grateful that the night was as the day when Jesus Christ was born. But where shall we find this mighty Deliverer? How shall we know Him when we see Him? The sign is twofold. The first sign is this: "Ye shall find a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes." The Christ of God might have descended an archangel, glittering with celestial emblazonry. And it is a sign as powerful as simple. Had He descended otherwise, we might not have believed so easily in the reality of the Incarnation. We might have said that He was an angel. But when we behold Him a helpless little Babe, we feel that the Incarnation was no acting — no phantom. We feel that Deity has in very truth come down within our sphere, linking His fortunes with ours, taking our life, like ourselves, at its germ as well as at its fruit, sharing with us the cradle as well as the grave, the swaddling clothes of Mary of Bethlehem as well as the burial linen of Joseph of Arimathea. But the angel gives a second sign: "Lying in a manger." Not, then, in choice apartments of an inn, not in sumptuous nurseries of the opulent, not in palaces of royalty, was the King of kings and Lord of lords to be cradled; but in a crib, amid the beasts of the stall. And this was to be one of the secrets of his kinghood. In fact, all society is built up from below. "The roof is most, dependent upon the foundation than the foundation upon the roof. Nearly all, if not quite all, the movements which have changed the thinking and determined the new courses of the world have been upward, not downward. The great revolutionists have generally been cradled in mangers, and gone through rough discipline in early life. Civilization is debtor to lowly cradles, and unknown mothers hold a heavy account against the world." — "Ecce Deus," by Joseph Parker, D.D.

(G. D. Boardman.)

Wherefore at night this Babe of Glory was born that He might turn the night into day.

(Bishop Hacker.)

The heathen make much ado, and relate it not without admiration, by what mean and almost despised persons the deep knowledge of philosophy was first found out and brought to light. As Protagoras earning his living by bearing burdens of wood; and Cleanthes no better than a Gibeonite, fain to draw water for his liberty. Chrysippus and Epictetus mere vassals to great men for their maintenance, yet these had the honour to find out the riches of knowledge for the recompense of their poverty; but the day shall come that these philosophers will wonder that they found out no more than they did, and be astonished that silly shepherds were first deputed to find out one thing more needful than all the world beside, even Jesus Christ. Tiberius propounded his mind to the Senate of Rome, that Christ, the great Prophet in Jewry, should be had in the same honour with the other gods which they worshipped.

(Bishop Hacker.)The Good Shepherd that giveth His life for His sheep, would first be manifested to those good shepherds that watched over their sheep.

(Bishop Hacker.)Surely these shepherds had heavenly meditations in their minds, and were most religiously prepared, when His ambassador of heaven did approach unto them. And you, my beloved, I speak to one with another, if that innocency and harmlessness were in you that was in them, you would think many a time that a Divine beam did shine upon your soul, and that you had your conversation with angels.

(Bishop Hacker.)

There are two sorts of persons noted for finding out Christ more eminently than others, the shepherds before all others after He was born, and Mary Magdalen the first of all men and women, as far as we read, after His resurrection. The shepherds were vouchsafed their blessing, because they watched by night, a hard task if you consider the time of the year; and Mary was so prosperous because she rose very early in the morning to seek her Lord. It is hard to say whether ever she slept one wink for care and grief, since the Passion of our Saviour; and God knows who shall be the first that finds Him at His second coming in Glory, when He shall come also like a thief in the night; but whosoever he be, this I am sure of, he must be none of them that sleep in gluttony(that are heavy with surfeiting and drunkenness, with chambering and wantonness, he must watch or be fit to waken to find the Lord.

(Bishop Hacker.)

Suffer not your eyelids to shut, but sift and shake your own heart; examine yourself, remember what a blessing it is to be a watchful shepherd, that an angel of comfort may come and sing salvation unto you.

(Bishop Hacker.)

To include you all, every man and woman in the application, suppose you are nobody's keeper but your own; why be watchful and prudent over the safety of your own soul; and when I have spoke that word, your soul, I perceive instantly that you have a whole flock to look to, and it is all your own, the affections and passions Of your mind, them I mean; it you bridle their lust and wantonness, if they do you reasonable service, you have a rich flock, sheep that shall stand upon the right hand of God: if they usurp and fill you full of uncleanness, they are a flock of goats, that shall be condemned unto the left. What says Cato of our affections? They are to be governed like a flock of sheep, you may rule them altogether so long as they follow and keep good order, but single one out alone, and it will be unruly and offend you; as who should say all our affections must be sanctified to God, the whole flock; let one passion have leave to straggle and all will follow it to destruction. Let the watchfulness of the heart especially be fixed upon this flock, the desires, the passions over all that issues out of the soul

(Bishop Hacker.)

1. The Lord did put on this glorious apparel, even a robe of light to express the Majesty of His Son, who was born to save the world.

2. This lightsome apparition about the shepherds, a type of the light and perspicuousness which is genuine and proper to the gospel.

3. The dark night was brightened with a shining cloud at our Saviour's nativity, to signify that He should be a light of consolation to them that sate in the dark night of persecution and misery. The most obscure things shall be made manifest unto His light, and the thoughts of all hearts shall be revealed unto Him.

4. No sooner was the world blest with the birth of this holy Child, God and Man, but the angels put on white apparel, the air grows clear and bright, darkness is dispelled; therefore let us cast off the works of darkness and walk as children of the light; the earth Should be more innocently walked on to and fro, because Christ hath trod upon it; our bodies kept clean in chastity, because He hath assumed our nature and blessed it.

5. A glimpse of some celestial light did sparkle at His birth to set our teeth on edge to enjoy Him who is Light of lights, very God of very God, and to dwell with Him in that city which hath no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it, for the Glory of God did enlighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. I conclude with St. Paul (Colossians 1:12).

(Bishop Hacker.)

Anna, Aser, Asher, Augustus, Cyrenius, David, Jesus, Joseph, Mary, Phanuel, Simeon
Bethlehem, Galilee, Jerusalem, Judea, Nazareth, Rome, Syria
Abiding, Field, Fields, Flock, Flocks, Keepers, Keeping, Lodging, Nearby, Night-watches, Open, Region, Sheep, Shepherds, Staying, Watch, Watching
1. Augustus taxes all the Roman empire.
6. The nativity of Jesus.
8. An angel relates it to the shepherds, and many sing praises to God for it.
15. The shepherds glorify God.
21. Jesus is circumcised.
22. Mary purified.
25. Simeon and Anna prophesy of Jesus,
39. who increases in wisdom,
41. questions in the temple with the teachers,
51. and is obedient to his parents.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Luke 2:8

     5330   guard
     5418   monotony
     7785   shepherd, occupation

Luke 2:1-20

     2515   Christ, birth of

Luke 2:1-40

     5652   babies

Luke 2:4-16

     5099   Mary, mother of Christ

Luke 2:8-11

     8289   joy, of church

Luke 2:8-12

     5426   news

Luke 2:8-15

     4170   host of heaven

Luke 2:8-18

     5433   occupations

Luke 2:8-20

     4112   angels, messengers

December 25. "I Bring You Glad Tidings" (Luke ii. 10).
"I bring you glad tidings" (Luke ii. 10). A Christmas spirit should be a spirit of humanity. Beside that beautiful object lesson on the Manger, the Cradle, and the lowly little child, what Christian heart can ever wish to be proud? It is a spirit of joy. It is right that these should be glad tidings, for, "Behold, I bring you glad tidings of great joy which shall be to all people." It is a spirit of love. It should be the joy that comes from giving joy to others. The central fact of Christmas is
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth

Was, Is, is to Come
'... The babe lying in a manger...'--LUKE ii. 16. '... While He blessed them, He was parted from them, and carried up into heaven...'--LUKE xxiv. 51. 'This same Jesus... shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go...'--ACTS I. 11. These three fragments, which I have ventured to isolate and bring together, are all found in one author's writings. Luke's biography of Jesus stretches from the cradle in Bethlehem to the Ascension from Olivet. He narrates the Ascension twice, because it has two
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions Of Holy Scripture

The Boy in the Temple
'And He said unto them, How is it that ye sought Me! wist ye not that I must be about My Father's business?' --LUKE ii. 49. A number of spurious gospels have come down to us, which are full of stories, most of them absurd and some of them worse, about the infancy of Jesus Christ. Their puerilities bring out more distinctly the simplicity, the nobleness, the worthiness of this one solitary incident of His early days, which has been preserved for us. How has it been preserved? If you will look over
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions Of Holy Scripture

Simeon's Swan-Song
'Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace, according to Thy word: 30. For mine eyes have seen Thy salvation.'--LUKE ii. 29,30. That scene, when the old man took the Infant in his withered arms, is one of the most picturesque and striking in the Gospel narrative. Simeon's whole life appears, in its later years, to have been under the immediate direction of the Spirit of God. It is very remarkable to notice how, in the course of three consecutive verses, the operation of that divine Spirit
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions Of Holy Scripture

Shepherds and Angels
'And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them; and they were sore afraid. 10. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11. For unto you is born this day, in the city of David, a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 12. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions Of Holy Scripture

The Angel's Message and Song
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the LORD came upon them, and the glory of the LORD shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the LORD . And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe
John Newton—Messiah Vol. 1

December the Nineteenth the Sun of Righteousness
"A light to lighten the Gentiles." --LUKE ii. 25-40. That was the wonder of wonders. Hitherto the light had been supposed to be for Israel alone; and now a heavenly splendour was to fall upon the Gentiles. Hitherto the light had been thought of as a lamp, illuming a single place; now it was to be a sun, shedding its glory upon a world. The "people that sat in darkness" are now to see "a great light." New regions are to be occupied; there is to be daybreak everywhere! "The Sun of Righteousness
John Henry Jowett—My Daily Meditation for the Circling Year

December the Twenty-Fifth Christmas Cheer
"Good will toward men!" --LUKE ii. 8-20. The heavens are not filled with hostility. The sky does not express a frown. When I look up I do not contemplate a face of brass, but the face of infinite good will. Yet when I was a child, many a picture has made me think of God as suspicious, inhumanly watchful, always looking round the corner to catch me at the fall. That "eye," placed in the sky of many a picture, and placed there to represent God, filled my heart with a chilling fear. That God was
John Henry Jowett—My Daily Meditation for the Circling Year

Religious Joy.
"And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord."--Luke ii. 10, 11. There are two principal lessons which we are taught on the great Festival which we this day celebrate, lowliness and joy. This surely is a day, of all others, in which is set before us the heavenly excellence and the acceptableness in God's sight of that state which
John Henry Newman—Parochial and Plain Sermons, Vol. VIII

The Wilderness: Temptation. Matthew 4:1-11. Mark 1:12, 13. Luke 4:1-13.
The University of Arabia: Jesus' naturalness--the Spirit's presence--intensity, Luke 2:45-51.--a true perspective--- the temptation's path--sin's path--John's grouping, 1 John 2:16.--the Spirit's plan--why--the devil's weakness--the Spirit's leading--a wilderness for every God-used man, Moses, Elijah, Paul. Earth's Ugliest, Deepest Scar: Jesus the only one led up to be tempted--the wilderness--its history, Genesis 13:10-13. 18:16-19:38.--Jesus really tempted--no wrong here in inner response--every
S. D. Gordon—Quiet Talks about Jesus

Joy Born at Bethlehem
In our text we have before us the sermon of the first evangelist under the gospel dispensation. The preacher was an angel, and it was meet it should be so, for the grandest and last of all evangels will be proclaimed by an angel when he shall sound the trumpet of the resurrection, and the children of the regeneration shall rise into the fullness of their joy. The key-note of this angelic gospel is joy--"I bring unto you good tidings of great joy." Nature fears in the presence of God--the shepherds
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 17: 1871

"Nunc Dimittis"
We shall note, this morning, first, that every believer may be assured of departing in peace; but that, secondly, some believers feel a special readiness to depart now: "Now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace;" and, thirdly, that there are words of encouragement to produce in us the like readiness: "according to thy word." There are words of Holy Writ which afford richest consolation in prospect of departure. I. First, then, let us start with the great general principle, which is full of comfort;
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 17: 1871

Christ About his Father's Business
But now I shall invite your attention, first, to the spirit of the Saviour, as breathed in these words, "Wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?" and then, secondly, I shall exhort the children of God, with all the earnestness which I can command, with all the intensity of power which I can summon to the point, to labour after the same spirit, that they too may unfeignedly say, "Wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business? " I. First, then note THE SPIRIT OF CHRIST. It was
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 3: 1857

The First Christmas Carol
Let us turn aside, having just thought of angels for a moment, to think rather of this song, than of the angels themselves. Their song was brief, but as Kitto excellently remarks, it was "well worthy of angels expressing the greatest and most blessed truths, in words so few, that they become to an acute apprehension, almost oppressive by the pregnant fulness of their meaning"--"Glory to God in the highest, on earth peace, good will toward men." We shall, hoping to be assisted by the Holy Spirit,
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 4: 1858

Christ's Boyhood
LUKE ii. 52. And Jesus increased in wisdom, and in stature, and in favour both with God and man. I do not pretend to understand these words. I preach on them because the Church has appointed them for this day. And most fitly. At Christmas we think of our Lord's birth. What more reasonable, than that we should go on to think of our Lord's boyhood? To think of this aright, even if we do not altogether understand it, ought to help us to understand rightly the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ;
Charles Kingsley—The Good News of God

The Christ Child (Christmas Day. )
LUKE ii. 7. And she brought forth her first-born Son, and wrapt him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger. Mother and child.--Think of it, my friends, on Christmas day. What more beautiful sight is there in the world? What more beautiful sight, and what more wonderful sight? What more beautiful? That man must be very far from the kingdom of God--he is not worthy to be called a man at all--whose heart has not been touched by the sight of his first child in its mother's bosom. The greatest
Charles Kingsley—The Good News of God

Music (Christmas Day. )
LUKE ii. 13, 14. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. You have been just singing Christmas hymns; and my text speaks of the first Christmas hymn. Now what the words of that hymn meant; what Peace on earth and good-will towards man meant, I have often told you. To-day I want you, for once, to think of this--that it was a hymn; that these angels were singing, even as
Charles Kingsley—The Good News of God

Of Having Confidence in God when Evil Words are Cast at Us
"My Son, stand fast and believe in Me. For what are words but words? They fly through the air, but they bruise no stone. If thou are guilty, think how thou wouldst gladly amend thyself; if thou knowest nothing against thyself, consider that thou wilt gladly bear this for God's sake. It is little enough that thou sometimes hast to bear hard words, for thou art not yet able to bear hard blows. And wherefore do such trivial matters go to thine heart, except that thou art yet carnal, and regardest
Thomas A Kempis—Imitation of Christ

The Birth of Jesus.
(at Bethlehem of Judæa, b.c. 5.) ^C Luke II. 1-7. ^c 1 Now it came to pass in those days [the days of the birth of John the Baptist], there went out a decree [a law] from Cæsar Augustus [Octavius, or Augustus, Cæsar was the nephew of and successor to Julius Cæsar. He took the name Augustus in compliment to his own greatness; and our month August is named for him; its old name being Sextilis], that all the world should be enrolled. [This enrollment or census was the first step
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

Circumcision, Temple Service, and Naming of Jesus.
(the Temple at Jerusalem, b.c. 4) ^C Luke II. 21-39. ^c 21 And when eight days [Gen. xvii. 12] were fulfilled for circumcising him [The rite was doubtless performed by Joseph. By this rite Jesus was "made like unto his brethren" (Heb. ii. 16, 17); that is, he became a member of the covenant nation, and became a debtor to the law--Gal. v. 3] , his name was called JESUS [see Luke i. 59], which was so called by the angel before he was conceived in the womb. [Luke i. 31.] 22 And when the days of their
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

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