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Why Those Shepherds?

When hearing Luke’s account of Jesus birth, a lot of people ask the question, “Why did God send the angels to those shepherds?” Theologians have tried to explain the choice of these few and the magnificent heavenly display that was given to them.

Could it have been that they were the downtrodden of society that warranted the special treatment? Perhaps they were the shepherds of the Temple Flock, the sheep that the priests sacrificed for their sins and the sins of their people. Could their societal position or their particular work cause the Lord to reveal his Shekinah Glory to these Jews?

The shepherds were the am ha’eretz, the people of the land. People without celebrity or power or a complete understanding of their own traditions and faith. People often just like you and me. They were the nobodys and the everybodys of the time. But, from their response to the angels, I suspect people who had a heart drawn to the things of God. And how much more then would they have been drawn to God’s presence on earth, Jesus.

God revealed himself to them through his angelic messenger, and he showed his love for his son in the magnificent display of heavenly joy. He lavished on these nobodys an incredible and unforgettable moment of his glory and presence. It was his love poured out for no other reason that God loves. It’s not special status. It’s not particular work. It’s just the nature of our God to give us more than ever imagined or deserved.

That’s why we praise him when we remember the heart of Christmas.

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