Can you imagine what it must have been like, that first Christmas? God bursts into earthly space with great fanfare and tremendous light! But, who did He share the Good News with first (after of course the Holy Family), it was to Shepherds! Shepherds? If we think about it, God did not do this according to the best and most radical publicizing schemes. He chose to reveal the greatest gift the best way of all – His way.
So, let’s consider the shepherds for a moment. They were not on the cutting edge of society. Rather, they managed to find a spot on the fringe of society. They were not leaders, nor where they learned. They were rough, and by no means well-to-do. They were not well thought of! Randy Alcorn further describes the low status of the shepherds in Jesus’ day: “Smug religious leaders maintained a strict caste system at the expense of shepherds and other common folk. Shepherds were officially labeled “sinners”—a technical term for a class of despised people.”
With all of this evidence stacked against the Shepherds, why would God choose them? While the resumé and status of the shepherds would not have them win favor with many, God looks at them through different eyes. As we look at God’s track record of “choosing,” the choice of the Shepherds was exactly the kind of people that God would pick! God chose Abraham to be the Father of the nation…when Abraham was not a Jew. God chose Moses to lead His people knowing full well Moses had a problem speaking clearly. God chose David to be the successor of Saul. David was…a shepherd, the youngest son of Jesse.
It is very significant that God chose the shepherds. Because God chose the shepherds, it means that He came for EVERYONE! God choosing shepherds demonstrates to us the kind of heart and soul required for relationship with Him; – lowly, needy, courageous, and faithful.
I wonder if God chose the shepherds because He knew exactly how they would respond. The Scripture says that the shepherds responded with great joy and excitement after receiving the news from the Angel (Luke 2:15). After their encounter with the Christ child, they returned rejoicing and praising God for all the things they had seen (Luke 2:20).
Do you notice God’s work in this world? Are you listening to hear His voice? How do you respond to God? Do you feel that you have to have it all together before you turn to Him? God revealing the Good News of Jesus to lowly shepherds is good news for you and me. It means that He identifies with you and I. At this time of Christmas, I invite you to commit yourself to trusting Jesus. His entrance into this world in physical form, 2000 years ago, demonstrated his commitment to you and everyone.
Have a great and Blessed Christmas…
What can I give Him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
Yet what I can I give Him: give my heart. (In the Bleak Midwinter)