The Shepherds and Angels

8That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. 9Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, 10but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people.11The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! 12And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”

13Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying, 14“Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”

God is being such a daddy here. I remember when my children were born. I wanted to shout it from the roof tops and tell everyone I knew. God is so much like that here. I remember with my first child I went to church after his birth and the pastor came in while I was there. I told him I suddenly understood why God sent the angels to the shepherds, but I was completely amazed he didn’t destroy the entire universe on Good Friday.

So God sends the baby announcement out through the heavenly host…to shepherds. Not to kings, emperors, religious leaders or even to people at the Temple that day.  No, he send the baby announcement to shepherds. In most of the world at that time shepherds were the lowest on the occupational ladder. Back when the Israelites first went to Egypt (2,000 years before Jesus’ birth), Joseph put them in their own territory because Egyptians wouldn’t interact with a shepherd. Shepherds were dirty, smelly, and because they were in pastures with the sheep, they often missed out on most of the education that the Jews bestowed upon their boys.

So why did God go the the shepherds? These men had room in their lives for God. They weren’t busy all day with meetings and errands. They didn’t own homes and businesses that needed tending. They spent their days and nights under the stars with time to be alone with their thoughts…and with God. They had no pretense about their own greatness or importance and their job was protecting and guiding the innocent sheep in a world of predators.

Perhaps God still reaches out to the shepherds among us.   

Father, first thank you for my children. Bringing an immortal being into the world is a great honor and I need your help with them so much. You’ve loaned them to me for a while and your will take them back (perhaps you are already) and I will be forever grateful to you for giving them to me.

Now Father, help me be a shepherd. Help me simplify my life. Help me understand how incredibly unimportant my stuff is, and how incredibly important the sheep you have given me to watch are. Let me realize that they are the only real job I have and everything else is just “stuff”. Help me give you the time and the silence to hear your voice and your message and then pass it on.

Angels sing, sing along!