“And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, ‘Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.’ 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 among those with whom he is pleased!’ 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.’ And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger.” —Luke 2:8-16 (ESV)
Think of something that would make you fearful. Maybe it’s something as frightening as a roller coaster or as simple as being late for work. We might be fearful of people knowing our darkest sins or having pain enter our lives. Mostly, we are fearful of the things we cannot control, and because we are not omnipotent, we become afraid.
On the evening of Jesus’ birth, the shepherds were tending to their job, watching their flocks. The night suddenly took an unexpected turn when an angel of the Lord appeared. The shepherds were uncertain of what this could mean, thus they worried. But the angel had a mighty revelation: The Messiah had been born in nearby Bethlehem.
Their initial response was fear. So, what changed? The angel reveals the gift of the Savior Jesus to the shepherds, and they were awestruck. This time, they responded with deep affection and reverence instead of fear. The shepherds hurried to Bethlehem in search of the Savior. Sure enough, they found the holy manger scene, exactly as described by the angel.
Sometimes God’s plans interrupt our own. That’s often how it works, isn’t it? Just as with the shepherds, you may find yourself presented with an unexpected opportunity to step into what God is doing. Will you step into that moment with faith, even if it means putting aside both your fear and your present plans?
The shepherds experienced the most significant evening of their lives, thanks to their openness to step out in faith, rather than sticking tightly to their agenda of watching the sheep. The Lord wrote them specifically into the story of His Son, but it was their choice whether or not they would take part in it. Be open to getting involved in what God is doing around you, even if it means abandoning your own plans. His plans are always better.