Like you, I have read the Christmas story many times. I can almost quote it in the Old English of my grandmothers King James Bible. Joseph, Mary, Jesus, the wise men, the shepherds, and the star form a nativity scene in my mind as I recall the verses from the second chapter of Luke’s Gospel. Though many
characters are mentioned in the Christmas story, it is the shepherds that have captured my imagination this past week. In Luke chapter 2, immediately following the account of Jesus’ birth, the Bible says: “…there were shepherds out in the field, keep watch over their flocks by night. (Luke 2:8). The scripture then records that an angel appeared to the shepherds and proclaimed Jesus’ birth. The angel said Jesus was “…a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” Then a “multitude” of angelic beings began to worship and proclaim God’s glory. The fact that God chose to announce his Son’s birth to a group of random shepherds fascinates me. Here is why: The birth of a child is a significant event for a father. I remember, quite vividly, when my children were born. I shared these special days with my wife, family, and closest friends. Immediately after each of my children was born the only people I contacted directly were people who were very important to me. When the Son of God was born into the world God the Father sent angels and revealed his glory to a group of shepherds. Shepherds? Though these shepherds had no family relation to Mary and Joseph, they were the first people God told when his Son was born into the world. Think about it, God could have sent his angels and revealed his glory to anyone he wanted. He could have chosen religious leaders, world leaders, the priest, the governor, the highly educated, or the rich and famous. But he didn’t. He chose common, ordinary people just like you and me. Why? I believe God wanted to make an important statement. I believe he wanted the world to see that Jesus came to this earth to save sinners…not people who think they are perfect and have it all together. Some of you reading this article are not “church people.” You may not think you are “good enough” to be associated with the family of God. But did you know that while Jesus was on earth he associated with people who were social outcasts: tax collectors, beggars, prostitutes, and lepers. Even when he chose his inner circle of 12 disciples he did not select the “who’s who” of the day. He chose tax collectors and rough, uneducated fisherman. Here is my point. You may think you are not worthy of Christ because you are not religiously educated or because you don’t have the right background. You may even feel out of place in the house of God because you don’t own any “church clothes.” I hope you will attend a house of worship this Christmas season and adore the King of Kings that was born in a manger, lived a perfect life, and died for your sins. The first people who came to worship at the manger were regular folks just like you and me. They were not well dressed, well educated, and well respected. But they met an angel of God, saw the glory of God, worshipped the Son of God, and left the manger praising God. Let’s join them.