“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 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 that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” “
When the angels had left them and had gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in a manger. When they had see him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.”
Luke 2:8-20 (NIV)
Although the shepherds witnessed a glorious scene, they were terrified when the angel appeared. This is understandable. Afterall, how many of us startle when something unexpected emerges from the dark? However, when the angel appeared, notice how the glory of the Lord shone around both the angel and the shepherds. A beautiful symbolism exists here. We now have the opportunity to stand in the holy presence of God because of the birth of baby Jesus and his future sacrifice on our behalf. Through Christ, we are now counted as co-heirs in God’s rich inheritance. Indeed, this is cause for rejoicing.