Not growing up with church as part of my life, let alone anything spiritual, I never really understood much of the celebrations- besides Christmas and Easter, of course. So when I was asked to speak about this third Sunday, and talk about the shepherds, I was a bit hesitant.
Rereading the account from Luke chapter 2, gave me some fresh perspective. In it, Joseph and Mary had gone back to Bethlehem to honor Caesar Augustus' decree that every citizen take part in a census. Since the local hostel was full, they took refuge in a shelter for the animals, and it was there Jesus came into the world He created.
The shepherds nearby on the hills were doing their job, and it was a lonely job. Usually this job was reserved for those unskilled in other areas or for those who were young teens. These guys were not the most important or significant folks around. In fact, by nature of their occupation, they were on the outskirts of community life.
In the darkest of night, an angel appears to these ordinary people. God's glory is manifested by great light, scaring them. And the angel proclaims "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a manger."
At this point, just as they may having been adjusting to the fact an angel appeared to them , an entire company of angels appears praising God, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests." Off the shepherds go to find the Christ child.
Heres' the cool part: These ordinary folk were chosen by God to see the most important event since the creation of the world. God Himself deemed these guys of value. This single act on God's part reflects His Heart toward the Significance of the One:
- The One Hurting
- The One Unpopular
- The One Forgotten
- The One Outcast
- The One Broken Hearted
- The One Lonely
- The One Needing Hope
- The One Unimportant
- The One Sinful