The importance of the shepherds in the Christmas story might just be my favorite part.
(Read Luke 2:8-20.)
But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.” Luke 2:10-11
It’s not like God hasn’t already wowed us with every part of this first Christmas. We’ve considered His choice in young Mary to carry His Son. We’ve pondered how He sent the angel to Joseph in his dream. We have also contemplated the manger and its surroundings. Yet, today, we find another beautiful reminder of how God isn’t confined to Who we think He should be or what we believe He should do. God continues to awe us.
What’s the importance of the shepherds?
He could have chosen anyone to be the first to receive the news of Jesus’s birth. We might think He’d choose kings of the land. Important and influential people. Rulers, diplomats, messengers. He didn’t send the angel to any of these.
He, instead, chose a group of men who might have been lowly in the eyes of the world, but certainly weren’t lowly in the eyes of God. God sent the angels to shepherds in the fields outside of Bethlehem.
From what I understand, shepherds weren’t high in social standing. They had no voice in their communities. They stayed in the fields and tended their sheep. Were they loners? Uneducated? Non-religious? Maybe they were lonely and missed civilization. Scripture doesn’t share those answers, but their job was important. The sheep would not survive without their shepherd. I’m guessing these shepherds were ordinary people, just like you and me.
But, they weren’t ordinary to God. (And neither are we.)
Not only did He choose them to hear this good news first, but this news was specifically for them. “…to you is born this day, in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord…” And, this news is for us still today.
Can you imagine this encounter with the angel? And, then the heavenly host?
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!” Luke 2:13-14
The sound and sight must have been glorious.
We may never fully understand why God chose these shepherds, but let’s not miss some significant truths tucked inside the story.
Three truths we can learn from God and the shepherds:
God cares about ordinary people, just like you and me.
We don’t have to be kings or rulers or have jobs that are of importance in the eyes of the world to matter to God. We matter to Him. Period. He cares about what we care about, and He cares about our lives and our futures. After all, He sent to us His Son to prove that to us.
God meets us right where we are at.
In our every day activities, at work, at school, raising our children, providing for our families God meets us. He comes to us in ways we can understand and He encourages us in our callings. Do we look for Him in our every day?
God wants us to glorify Him.
When the shepherds found them, they told Mary and Joseph what they had experienced. Those around them were amazed. They returned to their fields, glorifying and praising God for all they saw and heard. What can we specifically praise God for today?
We can pause and marvel at the importance of these shepherds and what they experienced that first Christmas. May we pause and marvel this season as we prepare for the birth of our Savior in just a matter of days!
Thank you for stopping over for a few minutes today as we continue our journey in returning our heart to the wonder of Christmas.
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