In the darkness of a typical night, sitting on a hillside outside the town of Bethlehem, some unsuspecting shepherds received word of God's redemptive entrance into the world.
Shepherds were ordinary folk. They never donned royal robes or mingled with the leaders of the land. They smelled of earth and sheepskin, not oil and perfume. Simple people with simple jobs. Take care of the sheep. Protect the flocks. Watch the lambs.
Suddenly the glory of God lighted the darkness of that night. For God had chosen to make these ordinary shepherds the first recipients of the greatest joy-filled news ever told.
A baby had been born. He was swaddled up, and could be found in a manger somewhere in Bethlehem.
The angel described this baby as Savior, Christ the Lord. Upon the utterance of this news, the whole sky was filled with a multitude of heavenly hosts saying: "Glory to God..."
The glory of God coming to some smelly shepherds on a hillside? Why here? Why were these ordinary people the first ones to hear? The fulfillment of God's promise was present. God's Son had been ushered into the world as a tiny baby. Shouldn't this miracle be told to someone more influential, someone who could really make a difference and spread the news to all the people for whom the angel spoke?
And yet the shepherds seem to be a most fitting audience. For not only did they understand the task of shepherding, they also understood sheep.
They may not have completely understood Who they were looking for, but as they searched the town of Bethlehem for the baby that night, these shepherds were searching for one who was a Shepherd and a Lamb.
They found the Good Shepherd lying in a manger that night. The precious Lamb of God was the object of their search.
It only makes sense that God would choose to allow some simple shepherds to be the first ones to come and sit at the feet of Jesus. Shepherds, who excelled at watching lambs, now with amazement and wonder, watched the Lamb of God.
As you celebrate Christmas this day, may you sit in wonder and rejoice in Jesus, the Good Shepherd and the Lamb, who came to take away the sin of the world.
Merry Christmas from our family to yours!