For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. —Luke 2:11
Bethlehem was so overcrowded on the night Jesus was born that the holy family had to find shelter in a stable. The angels could have announced His birth to the masses, but instead they came to a pasture where the shepherds were diligently tending their sheep.
The word tend is related to the word attend or wait. Ordinarily, waiting seems like doing nothing. However, this waiting is not the mundane sitting around hoping for something to happen. Attendance requires attention. Perhaps the angels appeared to the shepherds because they were the only ones watching.
Those who attend must have the faith and stamina to remain vigilant and take action. Shepherds were used to watching all night while the rest of Bethlehem slept. They were prepared to nurture and defend their flocks at any moment. The shepherds knew their livelihood depended upon constant vigilance and endurance despite fatigue or distraction. When the angels surprised them to share the good news, the shepherds were ready to go straightaway to find the manger. Their faithfulness to watch and wait was rewarded.
In this season of Advent, we too must prepare for Christ’s coming. Like the shepherds, we must not lose heart when the night is wearying, but be constant in our readiness to respond to the needs around us and wait on the Lord until He comes. Our faithfulness prepares us for more than we can imagine.
“He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall, but those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” –Isaiah 40:29–31