“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” 15 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.” 16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child,” Luke 2.8-17
Have you ever felt like your job was insignificant? My first and only job in high school was mowing yards. I remember being paid $20 to mow my neighbors yard and thought it was a steal! I would load up my push mower into the trunk of my 1978 MGB and drive to different neighbors yards to mow. (Which is how I paid for half of that first car!)
But compared to what I am doing now, that job was insignificant. I was doing a very simple task that almost anyone could do. I was not making an impact in any way for the Kingdom of God.
I wonder if this is how the shepherds felt just moments before being greeted by the angel of the Lord and the heavenly host? They were watching their sheep at night so predators would not get them. It was quiet, perhaps a little chilly, and most likely a lonely job. Maybe they sat around a fire or walked among the flock for protection. Or perhaps they had the sheep in a rock pen like was common in Judea.
Yet they were doing a job anyone could do. It was simple, common and required little skill. And still, God came to visit them that night. The Lord needed witnesses and out of everyone he could have chosen he selected these blue collar workers — shepherds, keepers of sheep.
Was it because the one who was to be born would be the Chief Shepherd? The Shepherd of our Souls? Was it because God valued all people- regardless of their work or identity? It was no small occasion. This was the birth of the Messiah and after being announced by an angel (Gabriel, I assume), a host of angels came and sang praises to God. It was not something that happened every day but God chose to appear first to shepherds out in the field to give testimony to the birth of Jesus.
God is not looking for extraordinary people to tell the story of his Son — he is looking for all of us, ordinary, common, simple folks. He is looking for each willing generation to give praise to the Son, to retell the story, to exalt his name on high. If God appeared to shepherds, he can and will appear to us.
Have you heard his voice? Have you responded to his call? Have you heard the good news and told others about Jesus this Christmas?
“O Lord God, you are good. In the midst of our despair, you sent your Son, our Savior. You came to give us life today and life for eternity. Come now, Holy Spirit, fill us with your truth and love. Help me know the power of your Spirit and the love of your Son. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen