Shepherds, Simeon, Anna and the teachers in the temple all had something in common. They got to celebrate greatness even in the early stages of the life of Jesus.
All four episodes are fascinating in terms of the backstory we get for each encounter.
Of all the people to be alerted to the birth of the Christ the angelic host choose to give an impromptu concert of praise to a group of shepherds.
As a side note, I chuckle at how the first thing the angel has to do when conversing with people is to tell them to fear not. I chuckle because the fear and dread that falls on people at the sight of angelic forces reminds me of those cartoon scenes where a character is frightened to such a degree that they run off quickly leaving an outline of their body in dust form.
Thankfully the shepherds didn’t do a runner and were able to be the first recorded recipients of the great news of the birth of the Messiah directly from the heavenly source. Their wonder and amazement spurred them to the manger. What a scene that would have been – this baby birthed in the yard because the inn was booked up is the location of shepherds getting a sight of the Great Shepherd. Mary being so amazed by this occurrence that she will keep this in her heart.
That was only one of many things she would keep in her heart. Simeon’s story and pronouncement on this baby also never left Mary. Anna’s prophecy over the child evidently left a memorable mark as well. What these three encounters launched was the blessings and honour that were to be bestowed on this wonder who would be glorified and exalted above all. Their words of praise is like celebrating the fruitful apple tree when it is but a seed. We are blessed by their prophetic insights as beneficiaries of the life they blessed.
The child has grown up, lived, died and risen to sit at God’s right side, we have the same privilege to join the astonishment of the temple teachers and join the angelic choir in giving blessings and honour to Christ the Lord.
For His Name’s Sake
C. L. J. Dryden