The shepherds who came that first, Christmas night deserve an honored place in our nativity scenes. It is through the shepherds that we can most easily find our place. It is hard for us to identify with a virgin mother who just gave birth… to the Son of God! It is difficult for us to identify, even if we are a step-parent, with the burden now born by Joseph, her espoused husband, as he looked down the road at the responsibility of raising God’s Only Begotten Son. How do you discipline… Jesus?
But the shepherds? Oh, we can get them. These were the “little people” who find that privilege and ease often came rarely, if at all! They were not the popular or sought after. In fact, they were often marginalized and avoided. No one put them at the top of their invitation list. In fact, their names weren’t included at all!
Shepherds in this day were non-persons in many ways. They could not be counted on to tell the truth in courts of law, and in fact were not allowed to testify. Often they were the first blamed if something in the area went missing. They didn’t just sit on the back row of the church… they weren’t welcomed at all!
So of all the unlikely to be invited FIRST to come to see the Christ child, they were the least likely. The least lovely. The least deserving.
And the most grateful.
And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. Luke 2:17
Gracious Father, thank You for loving even the unlovely and lowly. The shepherds stand for all of our need before You, and our unworthiness to be the focus of Your attention. May we worship, with them, in the humility that is most beautiful to You. In the Lamb of God we pray, Amen.