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 will bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ 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, and on earth peace to men on whom His favor rests.”
There are many aspects of the Christmas story that make absolutely no sense to the average reader. If these accounts were being written by men without the supernatural guidance of the Holy Spirit, the narratives would be quite different. Instead of this newborn king being born in a stable, he would have been born in a plush palace. Instead of being born to commoners like Mary and Joseph, he would have been born into Herod’s royal line. Instead of being greeted by lowly shepherds, Jesus would have been greeted by the political and religious elite of the day.
Rather, God chose to bring His Son into the world in the humblest of settings. Instead of being greeted by royalty, God would reveal His Son first to those who were marginalized by society. Shepherds were considered unclean. They were on the very bottom rung of the social ladder of that day. Yet, God chose to reveal the birth of His Son first to shepherds. This reveals something to us about God’s nature and His divine plan for mankind.
First, we discover that the Son of God would be born into humility. Jesus’ whole life was about humility and reaching out to the marginalized in society. The humility that marked His birth would follow Him all the way to His death on the cross. Second, we see that God’s plan was very different than what the people of Israel expected. They were expecting a conquering king who would free them from the bondage of Rome. Instead, they got a suffering servant who would ultimately free them from the captivity of their sin.
We find great hope in the angelic announcement of His birth: “I bring you great jot that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord.” The Savior who was born in the humblest of settings would be for ALL people. Glory to God in the highest!
Questions to Ponder
This Christmas, would you take note of those who live on the margins of society and share the love of Christ with them? How does your love for Jesus show? Who are the shepherds in your life?
Spend some time in prayer meditating on what God revealed to you today.