In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 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.” 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!”When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them.
Who would you choose to proclaim the birth of Jesus? A celebrity? A news anchor? A Bible scholar? An athlete?
Surprise! God chose to proclaim the news of Christ’s birth to the lowly shepherds. The lowest of the lowly! The shepherds were a foreshadowing of who the ministry of Jesus would focus on.
Shepherds were not highly regarded by society in those days. In the first century, particularly the hirelings, they were regarded as unsavory characters. Because shepherds were unsupervised much of the time, they were often accused of stealing some of the increase of the flock. They lived outside most of the year tending the sheep so personal hygiene was not a priority.
The shepherds were terrified when the brightness of an angel appeared in a booming voice. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born for you; He is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:10-12)
The shepherds are told that they will find the babe wrapped in swaddling cloths lying in a manger. A heavenly army of angels sings praises to God and the shepherds hurry to Bethlehem being faithful as they were.
Upon peering over the baby Jesus, Mary and Joseph, the men go and tell others what the angels have told them. They were to give glory to God and offer a blessing of peace to all men. The final scene with the shepherds finds them climbing back up the hill to tend to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for this unforgettable night.
What are we to learn from the shepherds?
1. God brings good news to the poor and humble. When you feel weak and powerless, you are the type of person God likes to use.
2. A savior has been born for you! Imagine that! For you!
3. The shepherds were faithful and hurried to Bethlehem. Would you have gone?
4. They spread the word of the good news of Jesus’ birth. Are you likely to keep it to yourself?
This Christmas, humble yourself and take on the role of the shepherds giving glory to God and peace to all mankind. Spread the Good News far and wide. Christ is born!
Father, what an amazing night the shepherds had! Thank you for letting us hear the glorious news from the angels and the shepherds response. Write the Christmas story on our hearts that we might be fervent about spreading the Good News, too. In Jesus’ name, we pray, Amen.
Written by Janece Nelson