Wednesday, December 14 (Suggested Reading: Read Luke 2:8; Isaiah 61:1; 1 Timothy 1:15)
It is the subject of many tranquil Christmas scenes- the sheep grazing innocently on the hillsides, while the shepherds, draped in flowing robes and regal staffs look on with tender watchfulness. Ask most kids what they want to be in the Christmas pageant, and you will hear a resounding and determined “Shepherd!” in response. There’s just something that draws us to these guys.
In reality, though, most shepherds of that day were outcasts. They existed on the lowest echelon of society. They were insignificant to society, uneducated, unskilled. Because they were required to essentially reside where they sheep grazed, they were unable to keep the Sabbath, and were thus in violation of the laws that the religious leaders had established.
However, their poor standing and poor reputation among the religious people and in their society made them the perfect recipients of the most earth shattering news of all time- the birth of the Savior of the world.
Isaiah 61 declares that Jesus came for the outcasts, the brokenhearted, the afflicted, the poor. He came for sinners, for every single one of us.The appearance of the angels (the first appearance in 500 years) came to the humble shepherds. The greatest birth announcement of all time was made to the outcasts first, and in that detail of the night of Christ’s birth we can find great hope.
Look at the words of the angel, “I bring you good news which will be for all the people.” I wonder, if the angel had appeared to the high priest or the religious people at the time, would the shepherds have ever heard of it? Most likely, not. But God chose not only to include them, but to begin with them.