“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 bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.’”
– Luke 2:8,9
I feel like the shepherds often get lost when we remember the Christmas story. Sure, they have a prominent place in our nativity sets, but how often do we take time to contemplate why they were there in the first place?
Historically speaking, shepherds were lowly in Jewish society. They were neither high ranking nor well-to-do, yet there’s something about the humility of their position that the Lord uses to teach us. Jesus went so far as to call Himself the Good Shepherd and David, the man after God’s own heart, started out as a keeper of the flocks. Accordingly, when the Savior was born in Bethlehem, it wasn’t the mayor or the priests who got word of His coming, it was a group of shepherds on a nearby hillside. Though we don’t know exactly why they were chosen to be the first to hear the news, I tend to think it’s because of their simplicity and humility. Removed from the hustle and bustle of the town, they weren’t distracted and hurried, so when the angel appeared to them, they paid attention and didn’t try to talk themselves out of what they had seen. They were humbled and had no problem leaving their flocks to go and give God glory.
Friend, distraction and pride will keep you from seeing the wonder of your Savior. If you want to know Him intimately and experience the fullness of His presence, humility of heart is vital. Like the shepherds, be ready and teachable and never allow yourself to get so distracted by busyness that you miss the miracles in front of you. When you humble yourself under God’s mighty Hand, His strength and power will take you to a place far more wonderful than you could ever arrive at on your own.
Jesus, like the shepherds, I humble my heart before you and make myself available for your purpose.
What do you learn from the shepherds and their role in Jesus’ coming?