Shepherds. These guys were low on the popularity scale. They didn’t get a lot of respect, yet their jobs demanded diligence, perseverance, attentiveness, and humility. That’s who God chose to be the first to meet Jesus. Got saw their worth. They were his masterpiece just as the next guy.
And it happened with great intention. “Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified.” Just the word “suddenly” invokes a feeling of excitement and anticipation. What the shepherds beheld that night was not at all ordinary.
And then the angel spoke. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.” Don’t be afraid. We hear those words a lot in the Bible. It’s probably because it’s a good reminder to us, too. God has our backs. We don’t need to fear.
Why the shepherds? Why not the shepherds? God has been very intentional about how all of this plays out. We have to trust they are exactly who could carry this news, be blessed by the involvement, and be moved. When you look at the whole package, their “professional attributes” of diligence and attentiveness coupled with their awe in the honor they received, we should be as shepherds!
Their night was not turning out like any other night. What they do next is beyond comprehension. “Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” Presumably they left their sheep to fend for themselves. Sure they could have herded them together, but that would have made it harder to hurry or run. “They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger.”
Just as the angel had said. What a sight to behold. Take just a moment to put yourself in the shoes of these poor, literally poor, shepherds. They were looking in on the face of God, yet they were so overcome they had to tell the young couple everything that had just happened to them. Their lives would never be the same. They had encountered Jesus.
You have encountered Jesus. Take time today that thank your Savior King.
Let’s pray … Lord, such a beautiful birthing story you have orchestrated for the King of the world. Help me to have the exuberance of the shepherds in sharing what I know about you. What I know is precious, and I should not fear being bold. Thank you for allowing me the freedom to share and draw closer to you this Christmas season. In Jesus’ name. Amen.