It never occurred to me that memoirists have something in common with shepherds watching over their flocks by night— that is, not until I heard my son-in-law Brian’s Christmas sermon. That morning it became clear that we memoirists are more like those shepherds than we might have realized.
Yes, shepherds—those behind-the-scenes guys we sing about in Christmas carols, the ones we read about in the Bible in Luke 2.
They were simply, quietly doing their daily chores when—bam!
“An angel of the Lord appeared to them,
and the glory of the Lord shone around them,
and they were terrified. But the angel said to them,
‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy
that will be for all the people.
Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you;
he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you:
You will find a baby wrapped in cloths
and lying in a manger.’”
An angel is a messenger sent by God—did you know? The Bible refers to angels a lot.
That night the angel of the Lord gave a stunning message to the shepherds—something about good news. Something about a Savior. And about a baby—a baby lying in a manger, of all things!
That must have sounded wacky to them, don’t you think?
But God was offering them a moment of clarity:
Somehow, they knew this was a divine encounter,
that they stood on holy ground,
and that they had to take the angel’s message seriously.
So they said, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and check it out!” (verse 16).
I picture them: Wild-eyed. Breathless.
“They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished. . . . [and] they went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen” (Luke 2:16-20, NLT).
They were never the same after that encounter, after the night God gave them a moment of clarity.
Similarly, “God gives us moments of clarity,” son-in-law Brian said, “in the same way the angel of the Lord gave clarity to those shepherds.”
Think about moments of clarity God has sprung on you—pivotal points in your life, defining moments.
They can occur while you’re carrying out everyday duties. “Pay attention to God,” Brian said. “He can speak to you in even routine events.”
Think back to a time when you, like the shepherds, were carrying out your normal routines—maybe a little bored, or maybe wondering if your life had any significance at all—when your life took an unexpected turn. And the result: a moment of clarity.
Let’s look at the shepherds:
- Because God sent an angel,
- and because the shepherds paid attention to the angel’s message,
- and because they followed up and verified the message,
- and because this resulted in a moment of clarity for the shepherds,
- they “told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished” (Luke 2:17-18),
- they praised God for what He told and showed them,
- and the shepherds’ story has lived on long after they died, blessing many generations.
The shepherds shared their story. That’s what memoirists do:
- We tell others our stories of what happened.
- And when we see how our all-powerful, all-loving God showed Himself to us in our circumstances, we can’t help but praise and worship Him!
- And our stories can live on long after we die, blessing many generations.
That reminds me of the following Bible verses:
“Tell everyone about the amazing things God does. For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise” (1 Chronicles 16:24-25).
Jesus said, “Go tell your family everything God has done for you” (Luke 8:39).
“Always remember what you’ve seen God do and be sure to tell your children and grandchildren” (Deuteronomy 4:9).
“We will tell the next generation about the Lord’s power and his great deeds and the wonderful things he has done. He . . . instructed our ancestors to teach his laws to their children, so that the next generation might learn them and in turn should tell their children. In this way they will also put their trust in God and not forget what he has done, but always obey his commandments” (Psalm 78:4b, 6-7, Good News Translation).
“Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim his greatness. Let the whole world know what he has done” (Psalm 105:1).
“Sing praises to the Lord, proclaim what He has done” (Psalm 9:11).
“Declare [God’s] glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples” (Psalm 96:3).
“The Lord has done glorious things; let this be known to all the world” (Isaiah 12:5).
Jesus said, “What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs” (Matthew 10:27).
When God gives us moments of clarity
and changes our lives,
He urges us to tell others our stories
in the same way the shepherds told theirs.
Brian concluded his sermon with this encouragement:
“Those shepherds were just regular guys
who shared the message of light and hope and peace.
We should do the same.”