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The shepherds and the army

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And in that vicinity there were shepherds living [out under the open sky] in the field, watching [in shifts] over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood by them, and the glory of the Lord flashed and shone all about them, and they were terribly frightened. But the angel said to them, Do not be afraid; ...And this will be a sign for you [by which you will recognize Him]: you will find [after searching] a Baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. [I Sam. 2:34; II Kings 19:29; Isa. 7:14.] Then suddenly there appeared with the angel an army of the troops of heaven (a heavenly knighthood),....praising God and saying, Glory to God in the highest [heaven], and on earth peace among men with whom He is well pleased [men of goodwill, of His favor]. (Luke 2:8-14 AMP) [men of goodwill, of His favor]. (Luke 2:8-14 AMP)

Near Joseph, Mary and her Firstborn, Jesus, near Bethlehem, there were shepherds living under the open sky. What a beautiful, peaceful place to live. They're away from the crazy, hustle, bustle of Bethlehem and out in the quiet of God's creation caring for His lambs. However, life was about to change.

An angel stood by them, not above them, not flying, but he was on their side. It would have been reassuring except for the flashes shining all around them. God's glory was there and it was pretty fearful. The angel said "Don't be afraid." Maybe that was in a commanding and soothing way that caused the shepherds to be eased so that they could take in the rest of what was coming. He told them that Jesus, the Messiah, was born in Bethlehem, near them and the way to tell it was Him was that He was wrapped in cloths and lying in an animals' feeding trough.

Then a whole army of angels, a heavenly knighthood appeared. They could have been there to guard the shepherds and the message. They spoke up and said "Glory to God in the highest [heaven], and on earth peace among men with whom He is well pleased [men of goodwill, of His favor]." He is pleased with good-hearted people. His hand of peace holds those who are gracious.

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