Today is Christmas Eve. In order to finish up our Christmas Story study, we have to look at the shepherds today and the “wise man” tomorrow.
The first groups of men we will look at are the shepherds who were “keeping watch over their flocks by night.” What might be interesting to note about the shepherds were that they were outcasts from the community. In today’s culture, being a shepherd would be like working at a fast food joint or a department store for minimum wage. It was a job that “paid the bills” as it were. It wasn’t a glorious job by any means. Shepherds probably smelled worse than a landfill and worked constantly. They were overworked, underpaid, and never reaped the joys of popularity.
Why then would the angels show up and tell them about Jesus? Why wouldn’t they go to someone more important? Someone who would have a job like a C.E. O. or a celebrity actor? I think maybe the angels came to the shepherds because they were outcasts. They probably kept to themselves and looked after one another. Their sub-community was a part of a much larger community that didn’t mesh well together.
God seems to do things differently than I would. I would not have brought Jesus into the world as a baby. I would have found a better place for Him to be born than a cave. I would have given him a bed to sleep in – not a feeding trough. And, I would have found a “better” group of people to see Jesus the night He was born – rather than a bunch of smelly sheepherders. God does things differently though.
A “host” of angels show up and tell the shepherds where to find Jesus that night. I wonder what that would have been like to experience. They agreed that they should go and see the child. As they show up, I wonder what Joseph’s thoughts were when he saw the night visitors. I once again can only speculate but I would assume those who came to see Jesus probably took Joseph back. I think maybe, even if just for a moment or two, Joseph probably felt like you or I would have felt. Confused. Why on earth would God send a group of shepherds to see the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords? Where are the rich and the famous?
I wonder if they got to hold Jesus that night. I wonder if they understood that the child they were holding would later die for them so that they could know the Father who is in heaven. I can only wonder if they understood all they had experienced that night.