And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. Luke 2:8-16
What a magnificent announcement that some would think was wasted on peasant shepherds and no one else! A multitude of the heavenly host just for a handful of sheepherders by trade. Did you ever stop to consider that no one would have been there to witness the birth but a few barnyard animals, had the angels not broken the silence of that quiet Palestinian night with their singing? God wanted someone there, and He chose the company of shepherds!
I also think God wanted Mary and Joseph to know this was indeed the real deal He had predicted. The excited shepherds telling about their angelic encounter must have been a huge confirmation. Had there been no one there, I imagine they might have been tempted to wonder if they were kidding themselves. But for the shepherds, it could have been something they ate.
Of course there were kings, but they came later to a “house,” and saw the “child,” not a baby, and they came from a long way away. I know that doesn’t play well on our coffee tables at Christmastime, but it stands that the stable was for shepherds. They were right at home there.
Thank God for the shepherds. He could have picked anyone and He picked them. God wanted to share this moment with those who spend their lives taking care of dumb, smelly sheep and goats. Kings, tax collectors, merchants, shipbuilders, tentmakers, seamstresses, landowners… they would all come later. This was the moment for shepherds to shine. Something tells me this was an indication of who was going to respond the most to the message of salvation brought by this baby in a manger. The poor, hungry and oppressed have always been high on God’s list. The last shall be first. First in line. First to the stable.
Those nativity scenes which show the wise men setting their gifts, including gold before the manger are not only inaccurate, they miss the point. Jesus was not treating like a King when he was born. He got nothing. I’m sure Mary wasn’t thrown a baby shower since she and Joseph were only engaged! There they were temporarily homeless for His birth. The shepherds had nothing to bring (not even a boy who played drums) They just brought their joy, excitement and praise to God. That, of course was the greatest gift of all.
Having been there, or near where it’s believed the Angles spoke shepherds,and thinking about it & feeling so grateful for it I find tears flowing down my cheeks
That God entered our world in the dirtiest place imaginable. He will go anywhere to find us, even into the dark reaches of our hearts, which are full of more vile things than any stable. What man would relegate to the trash heap, out of sight and smell, God brings into the Light and transforms into a great treasure. MERRY CHRISTMAS!