Luke 2:2-20 is a remarkable story for many reasons. The faith of a young girl is amazing (not that she had much choice). The faith of Joseph, Mary's betrothed, is amazing. His bride-to-be ends up pregnant and tells a story that millions around the world today still do not believe. Joseph didn't believe it either and planned to divorce her quietly when an angel, one of God's messengers, has a conversation with Joseph. (You can read about this in Matthew 1:18-25.) But what I really like is the faith of the shepherds.
What would happen if this event with the angels and the shepherds (recorded Luke 2:8-20) happened today?
I hope I'm wrong, but first, I suspect that after the shepherds heard the message from the angels, they would form a small group to discuss what it would look like to go and see this thing that has happened. This group would probably meet for months with all kinds of time to do life together in missional community as they pondered what could happen if they went to Bethlehem to see this thing they heard about.
Next, they would form a committee and sign a document stating that they believed the angels were from God and telling the truth, without error. Of course, there would be some debate on this, so a symposium would be necessary to discuss this endlessly.
After the symposium, they would need to debate the transmission of God's message. What was the intent behind the intent? How can the message be trusted? Was the call to go see the baby Jesus literal or figurative? Was it only for the shepherds or for others too? These debates would probably never end. They would play out in social media and blog posts well beyond the lifetimes of the people who hear the original message.
Books would be written about this angelic message from God. They'd also be written about the shepherds, the angels, the field in which the shepherds heard the message, the sky, the science, the emotion, and much more. Pages and pages would be written and published well beyond the market's capacity to purchase and read.
Movies would be produced and people would argue about them. Some might even boycott the movies because the directors missed a detail. Others would host big outreach events in their churches centered around the movies.
A satire post would be written. More people would hear about the event through the satire than from anywhere else. Many Christians would be embarrassed about being Christians because of the satire so they wouldn't say anything at all.
We would have to ask how millennials would rather hear the message. Debates about if we should rewrite the angel's message in a more contextual way might be necessary.
Churches would split.
Entire seminary classes would be written to study this amazing event. Dissertations would be written on every aspect of the message, the shepherds, the angels, the responses, the timing, the historicity, and so much more. Many scholars would start denying the event, even in the seminaries.
But even after all this, one question would still remain. Would anybody actually go see Jesus and worship him? All joking aside, the message of the angels to the shepherds is still just as important then as it is today. When we hear God's message (through his Word, pastors, other saints, prayer, books, music, and so-on) do we obey or do we do something else. Are we more serious about the Bible or about the message contained in the Bible? Are we more serious about the message or the King and Savior the message directs us too? If you were in that field that night, what would you do? It's no different when you hear God's message today. So what are you going to do?