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. 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!”

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. -Luke 2:8-20

 The Jewish expectation of the Messiah was a man sent from God to be their deliverer, what they got was God sent by God in the form of a man to be their Savior.
This reading is so familiar to both Christians and many non-Christians. I encourage you to reread it and do it slowly soaking in each word. You may well find the story tells you things you overlooked due to extreme familiarity.

I must give proper credit to my Pastor, Ted Hamilton for the key insight I want to share with you today. I was not aware before, but there is a Greek construction in this passage that never appears again in the Greek New Testament…and it makes a huge difference in how the story is understood.
Put yourself in the sandals of the shepherds, typical middle class Jewish working people. The standard expectation regarding the Messiah was that he would come as a man sent from God as a political deliverer and show those Romans a thing or two. But instead an angel appears in their pasture, and they were all surrounded by the glory of God. Their reaction? As you might expect, fear. There is no mention of the angel floating in the air or having wings. Without the artists of the middle ages, we would probably read this and picture an angel standing on the ground speaking to the shepherds.
The announcement would have shaken them to the bottom of their dirty little sandals. On this day, in Bethlehem, just a stone’s through away, the Messiah is being born.
This is the real shocker. The angel referred to the baby as Christ, the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew Messiah. That is expected. But then, instead of it being the Christ or Messiah sent from God, it is Christ the LORD. This word LORD is a reference to God, not a man. So (and this is the unique Greek construction) he was telling them that the little baby being born in that manger in Bethlehem is Christ LORD (a literal translation). In other words, the Messiah, that little, fresh, newborn baby, is God. As a local shepherd, try to get your head around that one.
As we celebrate Christmas in a few days, I hope you will be experiencing a little of the shepherds’ fear with the realization that this is about God becoming flesh and entering into our world to become our Savior. He will live a perfect life that will be credited to you and me. Then, he will die on our behalf, an offering for our sin, so that we might become the righteousness of God. Or, and I borrow another illustration from my Pastor, we will be given Jesus’ perfect resume in place of our imperfect one.
We have great reason to rejoice. Merry Christmas!