‘made known to us.’

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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. 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. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

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.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them.

Luke 2 verse 8-18

The word here that is translated ‘made known’ is the same word Jesus uses in John 15 when he tells his disciples that what he has heard from the Father he has made known to his disciples.

This word carries a sense of revelation; something amazing has been revealed first to these ordinary and lowly shepherds, and later to Jesus’ first followers, and later still to those of us who have come to know Jesus as our Saviour and Lord.

The word ‘make known’ also carries a sense of telling, of declaring. For a person to know, they need to hear and see. Sometimes this comes in the form of a divine visitation. But often it comes in the form of one faithful witness sharing their knowledge of Jesus with another and God inhabiting that testimony and bringing revelation to the listener.

As Christians we ‘know’ that we are called to share the good news about Jesus. But this kind of knowing can be a different sort of knowing. It may be a knowing of information we have assimilated, perhaps a ‘what it means to be a Christian’ head knowledge. There may come with it a sense of duty, a feeling that we are obliged to share this good news. Certainly, that was some of what I experienced as a teenager: a sense that unless I declared the truth of Christianity I was somehow not good enough.

I don’t think there was any sense of obligation when the shepherds went on to share what had been ‘made known’ to them. They had experienced a life-changing encounter that they would have been unable to contain. Not only had they experienced a dramatic angelic encounter, they had also met the Saviour, Christ the Lord, as a vulnerable, newborn baby, come to live and dwell among us.

Perhaps you have had a dramatic encounter with Christ your Saviour. Or maybe you have felt in a real and tangible way his saving work in your life. I certainly know that my life has been saved – I know a fullness of life that is a gift from a loving and faithful Saviour and friend.

I wonder what the Lord has made known to you?

I wonder how He has made Himself known to you?

My prayer this Advent is that I would be able to share some of what has been made known to me with those who haven’t encountered Jesus yet.