Luke’s account of Jesus’ birth focuses on some participants who are lesser known, but have become enduring features in this Christmas story. The shepherds represent a much despised class of people in Bible times. So mistrusted were shepherds that they couldn’t even testify in a court of law. Later in Jesus’ ministry, he uses the image of shepherds continually, but has to use the word Good to describe the type of shepherd he was. (See John 10:14.) He had to create a new expectation of what a shepherd was because of the poor reputation that they had in society. Yet, in the plan of God, these lowly shepherds are the first people to hear announced the birth of the Christ child.
Angels have also played a significant part in Luke’s telling of this story. Conversations with Zechariah, Mary and Joseph now continue in a spectacular late-night announcement with one angel joined by a “multitude of the heavenly hosts.” (2:13) This group is very vocal that they have come to announce to the shepherds the birth of a child who is Christ the Lord. (2:14) The shepherds were a group of people who we might call bypassed. They were mistrusted, avoided and generally were considered losers. This story has lots incredible impact in places we least expect it to.
This Christmas season, I encourage you to remember that the birth of Jesus is announced first to those society thought could be bypassed. That simple fact should encourage every one of us. God knows our address — we are not bypassed and we are not losers!
Vice President, ChildHope
Prayer: God we thank You today for these simple truths: You know where we live; You know our deepest needs; and the birth of Jesus Christ reveals Your love for every person, starting with those in the lowest places in life.
8 And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
Scripture quotations are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®),
copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
Used by permission. All rights reserved.