12/15/2019 | The Shepherds of Bethlehem
Updated: Dec 10, 2019
Handout and notes can be found here soon. Join the discussion blog soon.
A Word on Worship “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God” (Colossians 3:16). As we gather together, the apostle Paul instructs us not only to sing together, but to let the “word of Christ dwell in you richly.” This is part of the reason we read the Scripture out loud every week, whether in preparation for adoration or reflection in confession or remembering God’s merciful assurance of grace. Worship at Calvary aims to be full of the word of Christ.
Call to Worship
“O come, let us sing for joy to the LORD, Let us shout joyfully to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving, Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms. For the LORD is a great God And a great King above all gods, In whose hand are the depths of the earth, The peaks of the mountains are His also. The sea is His, for it was He who made it, And His hands formed the dry land. Come, let us worship and bow down, Let us kneel before the LORD our Maker.” Psalms 95:1-6 NASB
Song - O Come To the Altar
The third candle symbolizes joy and is called the "Shepherd’s Candle." To the shepherd’s great joy, the angels announced that Jesus came for humble, unimportant people like them, too.
Assurance of Grace
Song - O Holy Night
Song - It Is Well
Scripture - Luke 2:1-20(ESV)
The Birth of Jesus Christ
1 In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This was the first registration when[a] Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 And all went to be registered, each to his own town. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed,[b] who was with child. 6 And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.[c]
The Shepherds and the Angels
8 And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 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. 10 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. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”[d]
15 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.” 16 And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. 17 And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
Read this very familiar story through twice, slowly. Picture each scene in your mind. Do you notice anything in the story that you had not thought of before?
How would you paraphrase verse 9 without using words like “angel” or “glory” or “fear”?
If the shepherds experienced fear seeing one angel, how would they have reacted to the “multitude”? What changed their fear into curiosity (v. 15)?
Why do you think the shepherds were important in communicating what they had seen and heard to Joseph and Mary and the others in Bethlehem?
Song - King of Heaven